MnDOT Mistake on I-35 Costs Taxpayers $1.2M
MnDOT made a mistake on Interstate-35 between Forest Lake and North Branch, and it will cost taxpayers time and money. All four shoulders of the freeway for that 18-mile stretch, in both directions, are uneven and do not match up with the freeway lanes. This does not meet Federal safety standards. So, MnDOT is grinding down those shoulders for 36 miles and repaving them to make sure they are safe for speeds up to 70 mph. The cost to do those repairs is $1.2 million, and taxpayers pay for it.
MnDOT says the level shoulders were not put in the original bid specifications and that's where the error was made. And a MnDOT spokesperson tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they are not sure why inspectors did not catch the discrepancy. Kent Barnard says it could be the inspector was following the bid specifications and did not know there was a problem. MnDOT says taxpayers are not paying twice for the work because most of the $1.2 million should have been in the original bid specifications. But, Barnard conceded, it is more expensive to go back in and fix the problem than paving it correctly the first time.
MnDOT says the lane restrictions on I-35 will only occur in the morning rush for northbound lanes and only in the southbound lanes during morning rush hour. There will be no lane restrictions over the weekend if you are headed north to see the all colors, and MnDOT hopes to have the repairs finished within the next three to four weeks.