Reduced Conflict Intersection Coming To Hwy 2 In Cass Lake
Warmer weather is synonymous with road projects, and soon, a part of Highway 2 in Cass Lake will look a little different.
“We’ve been working on this project with MnDOT for probably a couple of years. One thing that this intersection is going to do is it’s going to make the roads safer,” says Leech Lake Tribal Roads director Arthur Chase.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be adding what’s called a reduced conflict intersection to the area of Highway 2 and County Road 75, also known as Bingo Palace Rd.
“These types of intersections are designed to reduce crashes, and they’ve had significant numbers and significant improvement in Minnesota where they put these intersections in,” says TJ Melcher, Director of Public Engagement for MnDOT. “The first one came in Minnesota in 2010 and there’s been 12 of them built, and these intersections have gone in the most dangerous intersections all across the state, and since then, there hasn’t been a single severe or fatal injury crash experienced at them.”
This intersection will be the first of its kind in Northern Minnesota. It will change things up a little for drivers, but it’s for the better.
“When you look at them on paper, it may seem a little weird because as you need to make a left hand turn, you actually have to make a right and then a u-turn, and so that can seem silly, but when you kind of dive into what is happening at the intersection and the science behind it on and why it works how it reduces those crashes, what it does is it allows motorists to really navigate the intersection the way that they’re supposed to,” says Melcher.
The intersection at Highway 2 and County Road 75 is what’s known as a sustained crash location. This means professionals are seeing twice as many crashes at the intersection than in other intersections that are similar to it. The new plan will work to reduce some of those crashes.
Melcher says, “It’s got a higher than average crash rate, and it’s because it’s a busy county road that comes into a four-lane highway that is at 65 mph. So, you can see oversized vehicles can have some trouble trying to make that left-hand turn to get out on the highway, and this will really help that out for them.”
As with any great road construction project, drivers should expect a few detours. At least one lane on that road will be closed at all times during the length of the project. It starts on May 14th and is scheduled to wrap up on June 16th.
“Especially the 2nd half of the project, both directions it will be detoured for. Initially just eastbound Highway 2 to northbound 75 will be detoured. Follow the detour – pay attention to the signs and drive safely,” says project engineer Luke Johanneck.
For a complete list of project MnDOT will be working on, click here.