By Morgan Wolfe
BLAINE, Minnesota — Highway 65 is one of the main gateways to a growing community in Blaine that sees roughly 50,000 cars on a normal day. City and county leaders have been working to get funding for a massive reconstruction project for years.
Minnesota lawmakers officially stepped in to help during the 2023 session, allocating $100 million to the project that has a total price tag of $163 million.
“A reconstructed Highway 65 will be transformational for Blaine and entire north metro region,” said Blaine Mayor Tim Sanders.
Last year, thanks to help from U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer and U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, the project received $15 million in federal funding from the Infrastructure Law.
While the road carries a heavy traffic volume, daily congestion isn't the only issue with the current Highway 65 layout. Police Chief Brian Podany says they roughly respond to ten calls a day on the road for crash-related incidents.
“Highway 65 is not a safe road, we have seen horrific accidents time and time again, this funding will save lives,” said Podany.
Blaine tourism plays a role
The city of Blaine has roughly 72,000 residents but the mayor says they see 7 million visitors a year. International events such as the USA Cup have a long history with the city. The 3M Tournament becoming a PGA Tour event in 2019 has also drastically increased visitors. Both large events are coming up.
The USA Cup is July 14-16, and July 18-22.
The 3M Open is July 24-30.
And let's not forget the National Sports Center, which draws thousands of hockey and soccer players and their families nearly every weekend of the year.
When will the reconstruction start?
City leaders hope to have their construction plans finalized by the end of 2023. The goal is to start the project in 2026.