A $25M federal grant will revamp Brainerd’s main drag

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded the city of Brainerd $25 million to improve a section of Hwy. 210 (Washington Street) in the city’s downtown.

The funding, from the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program, will rehabilitate a four-mile segment from Baxter Drive on the west side of downtown to Pine Shores Road on the east side. Improvements include a new deck for the Mississippi River bridge, accessibility and sidewalk upgrades, raised medians and two new roundabouts.

The project is meant to improve pedestrian safety downtown, which has more than 125 businesses, as well as help reduce crashes in an area that’s had more than 900 crashes in the last decade — 30 of which involved pedestrians or bicyclists, according to a release from the department. It is also expected to support tourism growth and freight mobility in the region.

“Rural communities face some of the toughest transportation challenges, yet are often left out of major federal investments, ” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release. “[The grants] will make transportation in rural communities better, safer and more reliable.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2026.

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