A new section of Hwy. 212, between Hwy. 41 in Chaska and the existing Hwy. 212 in Carver, is having its grand opening today! The main road is scheduled to fully open in two weeks and connect up with its final link, Hwy. 147, by mid-August. The new road, which covers 11.8 miles between Eden Prairie MN
and Carver MN
, is expected to handle about 50,000 vehicle trips a day, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
More than 50 years in the making, the lack of efficient transportation between the Twin Cities and Chaska has been the topic of discussion since the late 1940s. The need was there, but the money to accomplish it was difficult to acquire. It was not until four years ago that funding was made available by the state Legislature. The project cost a total of $238 million.
In the long run, that will be a small amount of money compared to the economic development potential this nearly 12 mile stretch of highway has provided. The new stretch of Hwy. 212 will increase business opportunities. The increased accessibility to Twin Cities communities is expected to drive up property values: Outlying towns and cities such as Carver, Cologne and Waconia will be much more attractive because commuting times will be reduced by 15 to 20 minutes.
Chaska Mayor Gary Van, who will be among the speakers at the grand opening today, said he expects the freeway will help his city grow to about 35,000 residents and add another 10.000 jobs by 2020. In fact, several large developments are already popping up on or near the highway, including a planned bio-technology business park and a new college campus designed to attract commuting students and satellite learning.
Chaska won’t be the only city to benefit. Carver County Administrator Dave Hemze says the highway segment will definitely have an effect on the county’s population. Its expected to double to 180,000 by 2030. The population of Carver, a historic river town of 2,800 people, is expected to grow 600 percent or more by 2030. What’s more is that current residents will experience an increase in quality of life. With the new portion of Hwy. 212, the commute to the rest of the Twin Cities has been reduced by about 15 to 20 minutes.
The project has required 1,200 workers who have moved more than 10 million cubic yards of dirt. The work was completed months ahead of schedule.
The grand opening event happens on the highway itself at 12:30 PM today, Tuesday, July 01, 2008.
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