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For many years, anyone who gets near the interchange of 169 and 494 knows that you are going to have to wait. The State has done some great work south of the interchange, as you head toward Savage, but right there is a mess. The three signal lights and overall volume of traffic mean long back ups a couple of times a day.

The hope for some time was that eventually efforts would go toward expanding the on and off ramps to ease the congestion. Others have suggested simply getting rid of the lights. There has been a plan on the board to expand the area with as many as eight changes which continues to be discussed.

The issue continues to be money. This past week, the Minnesota Department of Transportation applied for $135 million from a $1.5 billion pool of federal stimulus money targeted for transportation projects. They would use the money on a reduced number of ramps. Since fewer people go from 169 to west 494 and 494 to north 169, money could be saved by not changing those areas.

The whole area would then be monitored to see if all the changes would make a difference. The Federal Highway Administration will have the final say because interstate 94 is involved and there are over 5,000 other applications. Hopefully, the money will be appropriated and something will be done to ease the traffic problem.

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