Next Moorhead underpass project receives $26.3 million in federal resources

Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff
Photo by: WDAY Radio Staff

(Moorhead, MN) -- Moorhead's Trunk Highway 10/75 Grade Separation, Safety, Mobility, and Livability project has received more than $26.3 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program.

The funds are coming to the city to help build its second major underpass project, after the finishing of the Main Street underpass earlier this year. This project involves plans for an 11th street underpass.

“The vision for the 11 Street underpass project is becoming reality! This traffic safety and mobility project is a vital component of Downtown Moorhead revitalization. I am so grateful to our congressional delegation and their staff members for their advocacy on Moorhead’s behalf,” said Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson. “We appreciate the resources provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and our other generous funding partners – the State of Minnesota, MnDOT, Clay County, and BNSF – for making this investment in Moorhead. We look forward to working with project lead MnDOT to build an even better Moorhead.”

The project includes construction of two railroad underpasses on 11th Street in downtown Moorhead. 11th Street will be lowered to pass below two new bridges carrying train tracks. 

"The project will enhance traffic capacity, reduce delays, improve safety, improve freight movement, improve emergency response times, and generate economic growth" said Carlson. "It is the top priority rail safety project between Moorhead and Minneapolis-St Paul."

“For years I have been working with the City of Moorhead to obtain this funding. We have tried nine times so this is certainly a lesson in perseverance!” said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who helped make the announcement of the funds. “This federal funding will enable the long-discussed construction of two 11 Street underpasses, which will strengthen downtown Moorhead’s economy by helping reduce traffic and bolstering safety and mobility. With these new underpasses, Moorhead residents will be able to more easily and conveniently access work, school, and other destinations.”

The $114.7 million cost estimate for the project will be updated as the work progresses through final design and will be revised to address inflation. In 2020, the project received $65 million in Minnesota Capital bonding funds from the state legislature. Funding partners include USDOT, the State of Minnesota, MnDOT, Clay County, BNSF and City of Moorhead.

“Making our infrastructure safer and more efficient is one of the best ways to boost local economies and improve quality of life,” said U.S. Senator Tina Smith in a statement released to WDAY Radio. “Plans for these two 11 Street underpasses have been stuck on the backburner for far too long, but thanks to the Infrastructure Law we passed last year, we’re finally making progress. These underpasses will help improve the lives of families in Moorhead by reducing traffic congestion and making it safer to get to their jobs, schools, grocery stores and countless other opportunities.”

MnDOT is the lead agency for the project, which is currently progressing to final design. Property acquisition is underway, with an anticipated construction start in 2024 and completion in 2026. Some utility work and building removal may be completed in 2023.

"This project is going to substantially improve local, regional, and national transportation, and I look forward to seeing all the ways it will benefit the Moorhead community,” said U.S. Representative Michelle Fischbach.

The Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program provides communities across the country with funding for local projects that improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas and bolster connectivity, safety, and reliability. The program was created by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in 2021.