Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 61 resurfacing, intersection project

Lake County

Reduced Conflict Intersections

Reduced conflict intersection graphic. Click to enlarge.

Crossing high-speed, divided roadways is dangerous and sometimes deadly.

Reduced Conflict Intersections have been constructed since the 1980s and have proven to be safer than conventional intersections on high-speed, divided roadways. Studies show a 70 percent reduction in fatalities and a 42 percent reduction in injury crashes where RCIs are used.

A Federal Highway Administration evaluation concluded that Reduced Conflict Intersections:

  • Decrease cross-path crashes by 100 percent
  • Reduce frontal-impact crashes between 72 to 84 percent
  • Reduce total overall intersection crashes between 43 and 53 percent.

Q & A

Q. Is there room for trucks to turn around in the turning medians?

A. Large trucks will need to use the 12-foot-wide, right shoulders on Highway 61 which are designed as turning bays for making the turns.

Q. How do I learn how to navigate a Reduced Conflict Intersection?

A. Signs will be installed and pavement markings will be painted on the pavement to direct motorists. Please check out this website to view video clips about driving in a Reduced Conflict Intersection.

Q. Why not just reduce the speed limit?

A. Artificially lowering the speed limit can actually increase crashes and problems. The drivers on the minor road would have a harder time identifying the size of the gaps, since there could be an increase in the speed variation.

Q. How many Reduced Conflict Intersections are there in Minnesota?

A. As of May 2019 there were nearly 30, and 40 additional RCIs are planned and will be constructed over the next few years.

Q. Why not install a signal and if that doesn’t work then build a Reduced Conflict Intersection?

A. This location does not meet the minimum volume thresholds to install a signal. More importantly, traffic signals are not safety devices. The crash rates and severity of crashes at signalized intersections on Minnesota highways is about double that at stop-sign controlled intersections. If a signal is installed at this location (rural, high speed, lower volumes) we would see these types of crash increases.

Q: Is the sight distance at the U-turn on the Two Harbors side of the Cty Rd 9/Hwy 61 RCI intersection adequate since a hill is present?

A. Yes, this was reviewed during design and has also been evaluated on the site. The sight distance will be more than the minimum requirement for traffic moving at 60 mph.

Q: Is it legal to immediately cross over 2 lanes to get into left turn lane to make U-turn when taking a right from Stanley Rd/Cty Rd 9 on either side of Hwy 61?

A. Yes, Minnesota law was changed several years ago to accommodate RCI intersections.

Q: What is the approximate increase in travel time with the new RCI if I am crossing Hwy 61 on Stanley Rd/Cty Rd 9?

A. Approximately 30 seconds. Any delays waiting to make the U-turn would be similar to the existing intersection.

Q: With the new RCI intersection, will I be able to make a left turn onto Stanley Rd/Cty Rd 9 while traveling north or southbound on Hwy 61?

A. Yes, left turn lanes will be provided. Some RCIs do not have left turn lanes at the intersection.