Looking for Americana? It’s here! District 6 offers all the amenities of small- to mid-sized town life, including marching bands, fishing festivals, and ice hockey teams. (Hello, Minnesota Mullets!) The Mississippi River cuts through this region, as do highways and railroads that are lifelines to our economy. We’re proud of our farmland, woodlands, and beautiful Sand Dunes State Forest . But we’re also passionate about growing our communities by attracting families and employers. Only by investing in our cities (Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, Waconia, Young America, Forest Lake, and everything in between) can we foster growth and stability.
Our legislators need to hear from us. Click the Raise Our Grade button and let them know you support investment in our infrastructure.
Our district’s urgent needs
Infrastructure projects will address critical problems, prepare structures for current and future capacity, and maintain, expand, and improve essential systems. Much-needed funding will cover design/engineering, materials, and construction.
A Short Story of Infrastructure: Wheels On The (Unsafe) Roads
In predawn darkness, a supersize rig rolls slowly into motion. Orange lights shine from the enormous frame as it follows the escort car and patrol car, rumbling toward the freeway. A semi-truck might top out at 65 feet long, but this rig and trailer are 200 feet long with 104 wheels and a load weighing 200,000 pounds.
Everything about this trip has been calculated during months of planning, right down to the distribution of weight on each axle, the exact route, and the permits needed. Getting this rig from Point A to Point B will require special routing and extreme care.
A Modern Challenge
Today, super loads are an essential part of the business world. Drivers carry giant industrial boilers, bridge girders, train engines, wind turbine blades, generators, towers…. They drive to the port of Duluth, Kansas oil fields, the plains of Texas—just about anywhere roads go. Their essential deliveries keep industry and infrastructure humming. Without this sort of specialized transport, Minnesota’s economy would slow to a crawl.
Poor Grades = Poor Performance
But supersize loads are a development of the modern economy and advanced technology, and many U.S. highways, roads, and bridges were not designed to handle them. Constructed in the 1960s before such loads were a possibility or necessity, highways are potholed, decaying, and in need of repair or expansion. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Minnesota roads a sobering D+ grade in their 2018 report. Bad roads contribute to unsafe driving conditions and congestions.
Minnesota bridges didn’t do much better in the ASCE report, getting a C grade. Thousands of bridges in the state are nearing the end of their lifespan.
These realities make hauling a super load a logistical challenge. When a low, weight-restricted, or decaying bridge stands in the way of transport, rigs must be routed around them. This might send a load off course by hundreds of miles.
Funding For Quality of Life
We are all affected by the roads and bridges we drive on, whether we are supersize rig drivers or average Minnesotans just trying to get to work and school. Poor roads cost us travel time and repair costs. Crossing aging bridges is a risk we take every day.
Updated and improved roads and bridges will greatly benefit Minnesota companies and communities. But they’re just two aspects of the infrastructure that touches our lives. We are all dependant on our airports, ports, dams, water treatment and energy systems, and more. They’re integral to our Minnesota quality of life. They ensure our ability to compete in the world. They contribute to our safety, our economy, and our convenience.
We must have infrastructure spending now to maintain our quality of life—and to assure a good life will be possible for our children and grandchildren in the future. We must Raise Our Grade, Minnesota.
Story images © Perkins STC
Funding for Quality of Life image © Minnesota Department of Transportation