State funding moves Highway 65 safety upgrades closer to reality

State funding moves Highway 65 safety upgrades closer to reality

State funding moves Highway 65 safety upgrades closer to reality

A major highway in the north metro is one step closer to some much-anticipated safety upgrades.

The state is investing more than $100 million into Highway 65 through transportation and bonding bills, securing the money for the project to begin.

This is a project that’s been talked about for more than two decades.

“This was such a critical project for us, it’s a life-saving measure,” Blaine Mayor Tim Sanders said.

It was at the intersection of Highway 65 and 109th Avenue in Blaine just last week where a driver hit a pedestrian, leaving him seriously hurt. A project website says the deadly or severe injury crash rate is eight times higher here compared to the state average.

“It’s not safe, it’s not efficient,” Sanders said.

That’s why Sanders and many others advocated for change. This session, they secured the funding from the state legislature that can give this project the green light.

“It is that road to lake country, it is a road that is traveled by visitors from all over the region and the country,” Sanders said.

The plan is to put in four overpasses on Highway 65 from 97th Avenue to 119th Avenue.

“So Highway 65 itself will lift up over the intersections, which will allow us to remove all of the stoplights,” Sanders said.

It’s a stretch that sees 60,000 drivers a day, and Sanders believes this move will greatly improve congestion.

“Traffic gets backed up, especially during rush hour,” Sanders said.

“Something needs to be done for sure,” said Bob Balk, co-owner of St. George Christian Books and Gifts.

Balk’s store sits just off Highway 65 in Blaine. Co-owner Sharon Balk says she was involved in a crash on Highway 65 a few years ago.

“It was kind of a miraculous event I wasn’t killed, a sign went through the window even,” Sharon Balk said.

While they hope construction doesn’t overwhelm their customers, the Balks applaud the emphasis on safety.

“We’re glad to see that they’re planning to have some kind of improvements on it,” Sharon Balk added.

There are still some design details that need to be worked out, and Sanders says they hope to break ground on the project in 2025.

For more information on the project, click here.