City of Wabasha Council Members and Port Authority members are very close to realizing a long-held community goal of re-routing State Trunk Highway 60 through the former athletic field and more directly out of town. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Tina Smith sponsored a bill in Congress and helped Wabasha secure $5 million in a congressionally-directed request. Now the City is awaiting the outcome of the 2024 legislative session to see if they secure the balance of funds, about $4.9 million through the capital bonding process. If approved, the project could begin construction in 2027.

The total project cost is about $9.9 million and if realized, this would mean dangerous semi-traffic could be routed away from residential neighborhoods and address problematic intersections, prone to frequent flooding. It would also eliminate an intersection with a railroad height restriction, allowing for more efficient travel of freight throughout the state. The project is projected to create a 20-50% reduction in crash rates.

In a press release, Senator Amy Klobuchar stated that by rerouting and upgrading Highway 60, this project will help boost the safety of families in Wabasha and surrounding communities, especially during floods, while also making travel more efficient and making infrastructure more resilient.

The City has already moved its athletic fields to a new location in preparation for this project. After the new road is built, phase two of the project, will be to develop future housing and commercial in the area around the highway, as conceptualized by a drawing by Minnesota Futures Grant. This project will also fund new utility connections, lighting, sidewalks, and add flood plain fill so the land is out of the 100-year flood plain.

Senator Steve Drazkowski and Representative Pam Altendorf, are both sponsors of a bill for Minnesota Capital Investment Bonds for the project and have advocated for the project at the State Legislature.

“ I am supporting this project because it improves efficiency and safety for thousands of trucks and cars that travel along this route, said Representative Pam Altendorf, “ It is a great infrastructure project for our State.”

Senator Steve Drazkowski also echoed his support,

“The City of Wabasha has worked very hard to make this project a reality, partnering with the state and federal government on planning and funding. Having a safe reroute for trucks in a flood-prone area will greatly benefit Wabasha.”

New Highway

Drawing of proposed new highway route

Minnesota Future Grant drawing of future development