Project to make deadly Hwy. 12 safer finishes early

Construction finished early so Hwy. 12 should reopen Friday with a new safety barrier.
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Part of the notoriously dangerous Highway 12 closed more than a week ago for repairs. Now sources say it'll reopen Friday – a week ahead of schedule.

On Oct. 17, a stretch of highway from Hennepin County Road 6 to Hennepin County Road 112 – through Long Lake and Orono – was closed.

Now the Department of Transportation is telling the Hwy. 12 Safety Coalition the eastbound lane should be open by 5 a.m. Friday and the westbound lane by 3 p.m. That's assuming the weather cooperates, which it looks like it should.

Next time you drive that stretch of road, don't be surprised to see a new concrete median barrier. MnDOT says it should help prevent cross-over crashes.

That's not the only work that's been done. Over the summer, turn lanes were installed at the junctions of Highway 12 and County Road 92. That’s to help separate left turning traffic from through traffic.

As far as costs, the turn lanes are about $900,000 and the median barrier is about $2.3 million.

A deadly stretch

Last November, safety officials from Hennepin and Wright counties joined together to create the Highway 12 Safety Coalition, and challenged motorists to go 12 months without a fatal crash on the 38-mile long highway.

Between 2010 and 2014, there were 811 crashes – 12 of which were fatal.

That gives the 38-mile stretch the highest fatal crash rate in the metro area, compared with similar highways, the Department of Public Safety reported last year.

There were 407 traffic fatalities on Minnesota roads last year, the Toward Zero Deaths website says. So far this year, there have been at 318.

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