Sept. 7, 2011
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Work progresses on Hwy 52 Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul

lafayette bridge

The new Hwy 52 Lafayette Bridge over the Mississippi River in St. Paul is starting to take shape as crews continue to work on the northbound portions of the new and old bridges.

Work on the four-year project began last January and is expected to be completed in fall 2014. The existing 43-year-old bridge will remain open until fall 2012, with no major traffic impacts until it is demolished in 2013. Crews will then begin work on the southbound portion of the bridge.

Upon completion, the new bridge will:

  • Provide two through-lanes and an auxiliary lane in each direction for entering and exiting traffic
  • Realign the Hwy 52 bridges over Interstate 94
  • Include newly decked bridges south of the river
  • Provide a pedestrian/bicycle crossing over the river

For more information on the Hwy 52 Lafayette Bridge project, visit Photo by Nick Carpenter


Minnesota road fatalities drop 18 percent from 2010

Minnesota road deaths for the year hit the 200 mark Aug. 16, following a deadly July and a tragic first week of August, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The figure represents an 18 percent drop in deaths compared to the 244 deaths at the same time in 2010.

At this rate, DPS projects 362 deaths for 2011. In both 2009 and 2010, the state reached the 200-death mark in mid-July. There were 411 total deaths in 2010, the lowest annual number of traffic fatalities since 1944.   

2011 non-auto fatalities

  • 24 motorcyclists—up from 22 from the same time in 2010
  • 14 pedestrians—down from 19
  • Two bicyclists—down from six

Officials note the trend of fewer road deaths in recent years has been driven by positive driver behavior and supported by important legislation and proactive efforts.

“Minnesota’s reduction of fatalities is a testament to what can be accomplished when all agencies and disciplines focus on a shared vision of zero traffic deaths,” said Sue Groth, MnDOT Office of Traffic, Safety and Technology director.

While legislation and driver behavior certainly play a big role, so have the millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements, according to Groth.  

“More than 250 miles of cable barrier statewide has almost eliminated tragic cross-median crashes where the cable has been placed,” Groth said. “Also, fewer people are running off the road because rumble strips and rumble stripes warn them when they are drifting out of the lane. And, we must not forget the contribution our local partners have made by implementing systematic safety improvements.”

In addition to the infrastructure improvements, MnDOT, in conjunction with DPS, is establishing Toward Zero Deaths regions throughout the state. These regions will work directly with local partners to educate the public and traffic-safety stakeholders through targeted efforts to include developing worksite policies, parent classes in driver education, as well as other measures.

For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths initiative, visit


State Fair visitors stop by MnDOT exhibit

By Lisa Yang

People talking

Ken Johnson, Office of Traffic, Safety and Technology, talks to a fairgoer about the zipper merge as Peter Davich, Metro District Design, and Karen Bedeau, District 2 Public Affairs, introduce themselves to one another at the beginning of their shift.

Nearly 100 MnDOT employees worked at the fair this year and handed out more than 48,000 state highway maps to visitors. Popular topics among visitors included roundabouts, construction projects, signage and signals on roads. Other questions and comments were related to licenses, MnPASS, 511, zipper merge and maps. Photo by David Gonzalez


Workforce Development offers Leadership Foundations program

By Linda Draze, Office of Human Resources

Current supervisors and high-potential employees aspiring to positions of leadership can still join this year’s Leadership Foundations program. The deadline for nomination is Sept. 23.

All program applicants must be nominated by their current supervisor or managers, who in turn agree to participate in a post-program survey assessing observed changes in the participant’s behavior.

Supervisors can nominate an employee by e-mailing The nominee will then be sent an application to complete for program consideration. All applicants will be notified of their status no later than Sept. 30.
The program will be offered at two different times—October through January; January through April. Staff from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute and the University of Minnesota will serve as program instructors.
Objectives for the course include:

  • Building competence and courage for leadership
  • Exploring and developing approaches to leadership
  • Identifying and developing skills and attitudes for effective leadership
  • Creating action plans to implement critical strategies

Program participants are expected to attend all seven full-day course sessions and spend about one to two hours between each session on outside assignments.

The Leadership Foundations program will be integrated into MnDOT’s new Leadership Development model, which will be introduced this fall.

On the job: Addi Batica makes sure contractors meet employment goals

By Libby Schultz


Addi Batica, contract compliance specialist. Photo by Nick Carpenter

“It’s complicated,” Addi Batica said about his job as a contract compliance specialist for MnDOT.

Adelberto “Addi” Batica has worked in the Office of Civil Rights as a contract compliance specialist for 19 years. Prior to working for MnDOT, he was an enforcement officer at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights for nearly three years. 

Newsline recently sat down with Batica to find out more about his role with the department.

What is a contract compliance specialist?

A contract compliance specialist is someone who makes sure contractors are meeting their goals to employ women and minorities, and have adequate on-the-job training participation. More specifically, I work closely on employment issues as they relate to civil rights, ensuring that contractors implement employment and workplace practices that are fair and free from all forms of discrimination. I spend time out of the office interviewing workers and on-the-job trainees on site to make sure they are making progress. I also attend to any civil rights issues and concerns they might have.

Where do you spend most of your time?

I spend most of my time in District 1 and District 2. The population of minorities is different in northern Minnesota compared to the Twin Cities Metro. I work more with the Native American communities there.
MnDOT funds programs to prepare minorities for working in construction with MnDOT. For example, there was a program last spring on the Fond du Lac reservation that focused on getting applicants their commercial vehicle driver’s licenses.

What is a challenge you face in your job?

A specific challenge this year was the shutdown. All of the graduates from the Fond du Lac reservation, except one, were offered a job in construction with MnDOT—then they were laid off a month into their job. It was sad to see a group of hardworking students experience that early on in their careers.

How does your job impact the process at MnDOT?

If my job did not exist, the awarding of major projects would come to a total stop. Also, MnDOT’s share of federal dollars depends on how well it follows civil rights standards and programs mandated by the Federal Highway Administration.     

What is a “major project" ?

A major project is one that is estimated to cost $5 million or more. In that case, a workforce compliance plan is sent to me, outlining the contractor’s plan to provide opportunities to women and minorities. Each project needs a clean bill of health from civil rights.

What would you like people to know about your job?

That it is complicated. I have to build relationships with workers on site and deal with their issues in the workplace. Additionally, I have to build relationships with MnDOT, county and city engineering and field staff, contractors, unions, community-based organizations and tribal governments. But, I love that kind of work. 

Do you or a co-worker have an interesting job to share with readers? Click here to send us your ideas, and we’ll contact you for more information.

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