Golden Turkey Nominee: $6.2 Million for I-94 Land Bridge Project Development
What could possibly go wrong when government tries to “right past wrongs” and “make up for long-overdue social justice” with a $500 million project to build a half-mile land bridge over Highway 94 in St. Paul?
The Minnesota Legislature tucked $6.2 million into the 2021 Tax Bill for project development of a “land bridge freeway lid over marked Interstate Highway 94 in a portion of the segment from Lexington Avenue to Rice Street in St. Paul.” This massive construction project seeks to reconnect a neighborhood split apart by the construction of Highway 94 sixty years ago.
The proposed tunnel will be over a half-mile long, twice the length of the Lowry Hill Tunnel in Minneapolis. Several questions remain unanswered including where to reroute trucks carrying hazardous materials and how to prevent car accidents since tunnels are notoriously dangerous.
Perhaps the biggest question is how planners will accomplish their goal of creating an “equitable future” for the site and avoid gentrification. In other words, how do you recreate a historic Black neighborhood if a bunch of white millennials ends up renting all the new apartments? A rift has already developed among community leaders over this challenge.
The sheer magnitude of this project and its Critical Race Theory inspired purpose earn the Highway 94 land bridge a Golden Turkey award nomination.