Highway 12 between Orono and Independence is now closed for the next four months as crews make safety improvements along the deadly stretch of roadway.
Both directions of the highway closed to traffic Tuesday morning and will remain closed until Sept. 17, with vehicles being detoured on County Road 6 and County Road 92, where five temporary stoplights have been added.
Here's what the Minnesota Department of Transportation has planned for the $22 million project, which it says will reduce crashes and improve safety within the Highway 12 corridor:
- Add a center concrete barrier on Highway 12 between County Road 6 in Orono and Baker Park Road in Maple Plain, which will eliminate head-on crashes on this section of roadway.
- Add a roundabout at Highway 12 and County Road 90 in Independence, which will reduce severe crashes at the challenging intersection and make it easier for people to turn onto and from County Road 90. Other improvements at the intersection include: reconfiguring County Road 90 to better connect the lanes north and south of Highway 12; add access for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing Highway 12; adding drainage ponds; improving sightlines adding a 15-foot wide concrete median; and making the road wdier.
- Improve the intersection at Highway 12 and County Road 92 with a roundabout and bridge. In partnership with Hennepin County, crews will realign County Road 92 with a bridge over Highway 12, with construction planned for 2021 and 2022.
These changes come following a group of residents who formed the Highway 12 Safety Coalition, which pushed for changes along the "Corridor of Death" after several fatal crashes along the 38-mile stretch of highway.