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Hwy. 212 will become a four-lane expressway across Carver County by the fall of 2025 in an expansion expected to make the roadway safer and potentially draw more residents to the area.

The state Legislature allocated $25 million in trunk highway bonds for the project's second phase, making it possible for the county to move forward with the final stretch between Cologne and Norwood Young America.

"Personally, I thought it would be 20 years down the road, and now we're doing it in like two years," said Carver County Commissioner John Fahey of Norwood Young America.

The highway now runs from Eden Prairie to the cities of Chaska and Carver. The first $37.4 million extension from Carver to Cologne is under construction, with completion expected in October 2022.

The next segment, like the one underway, will be funded with county, state and federal money, said Eric Sieger, speaking for the county's project team. The county is contributing $17 million from a half-cent sales tax passed in 2017 and has applied for a $10 million federal grant to offset its share. Nearly 2,000 trucks a day use the highway, which in its existing form is mostly two lanes — the only two-lane road in the metro area carrying that much truck traffic, Sieger said.

Trucks represent about 15% of total traffic on the highway, which Sieger said has seen 11 crashes in the past 11 years.

"From Cologne and Norwood Young America and even out to Hamburg, it's going to have a great impact just with the movement of goods, the economic development and more importantly, the safety factor," Fahey said. "Most of us who have grown up in that area and have lived in that area our whole lives unfortunately know individuals who have passed away at various intersections on 212."

The expansion also is expected to boost population, similar to what happened when the highway was expanded to four lanes from Eden Prairie to Chaska in 2008 and Carver in 2009.

In the decade after that construction, Carver County became the state's fastest-growing county, according to the Minnesota State Demographic Center. Metropolitan Council figures show the county's population growing from about 78,000 to about 108,500 during that time. The population is projected to grow to about 161,000 by 2040.

Katy Read • 612-673-4583