Review suggests intersections safety fixes on Hwy. 23 near New London
NEW LONDON -- A recently completed review of four intersections on state Highway 23 near New London has resulted in a list of recommended actions to reduce serious and fatal crashes and improve safety and access.
NEW LONDON - A recently completed review of four intersections on state Highway 23 near New London has resulted in a list of recommended actions to reduce serious and fatal crashes and improve safety and access.
Constructing a J-turn at the intersection of Highway 23 and state Highway 9 was the major recommendation, along with recommendations for clearing sight lines and adding new lighting at others intersections.
Now the four community partners who participated in the assessment will need to work together to fine-tune the recommendations and find money to implement them.
Based on history, it could take two to five years to complete the projects.
A final report of the assessment was released Thursday.
The study - coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 office in Willmar with participation from Kandiyohi County, the city of New London and New London Township - looked at the Highway 23 intersections with state Highway 9, Kandiyohi County Road 40, 153rd Avenue Northeast and North Shore Drive.
The assessment included crash history, traffic counts, a speed study and plans for future land use around those intersections.
Public meetings were also held last year to hear concerns about the four intersections and options for improving them.
According to the report, public concerns included traffic congestion at Highway 9, especially before and after school, which could surprise non-local drivers because the school is not visible from Highway 23.
Recreational traffic also caused congestion during summer months and truck traffic also creates problems on Highway 9.
The public also expressed concern that motorists were driving too fast and that the variation in speed from 55 mph to 65 mph at 153rd Avenue made it difficult to judge gaps in traffic.
A lack of lighting and visibility because of the road design was also cited as a concern at the intersections.
MnDOT reviewed a variety of suggestions, including making the medians widers, decreasing speeds and installing traffic signals, J-turns or a roundabout.
Some of the alternatives were deemed not cost-effective relative to its expected benefits or could have actually made the road less safe, according to the report.
Highway 9: The recommendation is to install a reduced conflict intersection, known as a J-turn. Where a J-turn is used, drivers from the side street only have to be concerned with one direction of traffic on the highway at a time, according to MnDOT's description of how such intersections work. Drivers always make a right turn, followed by a U-turn.
153rd Avenue Northeast: The recommendation is to clear sight lines on the west leg, install intersection lighting and install right-turn lanes on the minor approaches to reduce delay for drivers. New London Township is currently designing the turn lanes and construction is planned for this year.
County Road 40: Because Kandiyohi County would like to realign this road in the future, the intersection will not be changed until more information is known regarding the county's plans.
North Shore Drive: The recommendation is to install intersection lighting and clear sight lines on the east leg.
The entire report can be viewed at MnDOT's website: www.mndot.gov/d8/projects/hwy23nlsafetyassessment .