Minnesota Department of Transportation

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July 22, 2022

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Construction begins Monday, July 25 to close Highway 14 medians at Olmsted County Road 44, 7th Street NW

>ROCHESTER, Minn. – Construction work to close the Highway 14 medians at Olmsted County Road 44 and 7th Street NW is scheduled to begin west of Rochester on Monday, July 25, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

MnDOT maintenance crews will begin removing the pavement along the medians July 25 as part of an interim safety effort aimed at reducing high-speed, right-angle crashes (T-bone crashes) until an interchange can be funded and built at County Road 44. Removing the option for traffic to cross Highway 14 at these two intersections will reduce the chance of these types of crashes, which often cause serious injuries or death.

MnDOT’s decision to close the two medians is an interim safety measure until an interchange crossing can be funded at County Road 44. MnDOT and Olmsted County are working in partnership on a design and will have plans ready whenever funding might be secured.

Motorists will encounter lane closures during the construction and are reminded to slow down in the work zone and be attentive and alert to equipment and workers near the traffic lanes. Crews will not have eastbound lane closures until after the morning commuting period and will not have lane closures westbound during the afternoon commuting period. 

The safety work will be occurring along the Highway 14 corridor both this year and in 2023. Plans call for:

  • Permanently closing the median at 7th Street NW
    • Not allowing vehicles to cross the roadway helps prevent T-bone crashes. These types of crashes often result in serious injuries or death.
    • Vehicles on 7th Street NW will not be able to cross Highway 14 but will be able to make a right turn onto Highway 14.
    • Vehicles traveling eastbound Highway 14 will be able to make right turn exits off the highway onto 7th Street NW.
    • Vehicles traveling westbound Highway 14 will not be able to make left turn exits onto 7th St. NW.
  • Permanently closing the median at Highway 14 and Olmsted County Road 44
    • Not allowing vehicles to cross the roadway helps prevent T-bone crashes. These types of crashes often result in serious injuries or death.
    • Vehicles on County Road 44 will not be able to cross Highway 14, but vehicles will be able to make right turns onto Highway 14.
    • Vehicles traveling on Highway 14 will be able to take right-turn exits onto County Road 44 but left turns will not be allowed.
  • Constructing a Reduced Conflict Intersection (RCI) at Highway 14 and Olmsted County Road 3 in 2023
    • Interim safety changes will be installed this summer, such as the installation of flashing warning signs to alert drivers at the intersection, to help draw a driver’s attention to the cross traffic at the intersection.
    • Once the RCI is constructed in 2023, vehicles will exit and enter Highway 14 and will only be able to cross the roadway at designated U-turn sections.
    • This change prevents vehicles from going directly across Highway 14 and significantly reduces T-bone crashes while still allowing vehicles to cross the roadway.
  • Delaying the closure of Country Club Road until after the RCI at Olmsted County Road 3 is constructed in 2023.
  • Continuing with the installation of the high-tension cable median barriers along the Highway 14 ditch in 2023
    • This change will not affect safety at intersections, but can significantly reduce head-on cross-over crashes, which often result in serious injuries or death.

MnDOT will continue to review other options along this corridor and look for other improvements for safety and mobility of traffic. The work scheduled to begin Monday is what MnDOT could do with the funding it had available at this time.

Safety
Motorists may encounter lane closures or lane shifts, uneven road surfaces, equipment and other unexpected obstacles when driving near or through work zones. MnDOT advises motorists to: 

  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Go hands-free and minimize other distractions (e.g., don’t eat or drink while driving).
  • Follow posted speed limits; the fine for speeding in a work zone is $300.
  • Avoid making lane changes within work zones.

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