Left to right: Carolne Gregerson, Amy Klobuchar, Emily Durand, John Friedmeyer

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and State Representative Pam Altendorf have both visited Wabasha in the recent weeks to learn about the need for the re-alignment of Highway 60, workforce challenges, and the potential to create new housing and business opportunities in Wabasha.

The City of Wabasha is asking for a total of $8.6 million in both federal congressionally-directed spending requests and state bonding funds to re-route State Trunk Highway 60 through the current athletic field and more directly out of town. This would mean dangerous semi-traffic could be routed away from residential neighborhoods and address a problematic intersection.

“ Highway 60 is a major truck route out of Menominee and Eau Claire. Every day we see hundreds and hundreds of trucks coming across the bridge, making several hard turns through residential areas, then going under a railroad overpass that will flood next week”, said Friedmeyer, explaining the importance of the project in a visit yesterday from Klobuchar to Wabasha. “It’s just so ineffective and just not a safe situation.”

Mayor Durand explained that there are ballfield bleachers at this dangerous intersection, where there are often children and families watching games, with children climbing on or near the fence at the intersection of the interstate bridge and 4th Grant Boulevard. “There have been five accidents there in five years.”

Friedmeyer also shared that the plans to move the athletic fields are already planned to be moved this year and re-built near City Hall.

“ There is tremendous support this project in the community, from our Council, from our Port Authority,” said Durand, “Because the project should have happened a long time ago.”

Friedmeyer and Durand went on to share that phase two of the project, will be to develop housing and commercial in the area around the new road, as conceptualized by a drawing by the Minnesota Design Center. One of Wabasha’s other major challenges is having housing available for people who work in Wabasha or want to move there.

Klobuchar stated her support for the project after hearing from city official and seeing the broken fence from the most recent car crash.

“Investments in our infrastructure serve as down payments on the long-term economic well-being of our state. We need to upgrade Highway 60 in Wabasha to improve safety, reduce flooding, and make it easier for Minnesotans to access work, school, and other destinations,” Klobuchar told city officials.

Wabasha is also hopeful about state-wide support for the project. Representative Pam Altendorf and Senator Steve Drazkowski have both sponsored bills to support their funding request and Durand will be testifying at a Senate Transportation Committee hearing Monday.

New Highway

Drawing of proposed new highway route

Minnesota Future Grant drawing of future development