Construction to make deadly Highway 12 safer to begin Monday

- Starting on Monday, Highway 12 between Long Lake and Orono will close for several weeks, so crews can finally install a concrete barrier that many say is long overdue.

The Langhans say had it been installed sooner, their daughter might still be alive.

On August 22, 2015, Tina Langhans and her husband, Ross Langhans, were out on Big Island in the Port of Excelsior when they got called to the docks.

“We opened the boat up wide and zoomed across the lake to get to the dock because we had no idea what was going on,” said Tina Langhans.

At the dock, they were joined by their daughters, Liz and Tori, when police informed them their beloved Chelsea Ann Langhans was killed in a crash on Highway 12.

“We just fell to the ground screaming and crying,” said Tina.

“Of course our lives changed at that moment,” said Ross.

Chelsea was on her way to teach a yoga class when a westbound driver crossed the centerline and struck the 25-year-old head on.

“At 25, she was starting to blossom and embrace life,” said Ross.

Ever since, the Langhans have led the Highway 12 safety movement to push for improvements and starting Monday a centerline median will be installed along Highway 12's “Corridor of Death” where Chelsea was killed.

“Together as a group, we made a difference and we will now have a median down that highway that will stop the head-on crashes, so I am ecstatic,” said Tina.

Since 2010, 24 people have died in crashes on Highway 12 between Wayzata through Wright County. West Hennepin Public Safety tells Fox 9 more than 230 people have been injured in more than 850 crashes on Highway 12 since the year 2000.

The project stretches 3.5 miles and will shut down the highway for 18 days and will divert traffic through Long Lake. It’s one of many projects the Langhans believe Highway 12 needs.

“I'm happy to see the efforts finally come to fruition, but there's still that presence of knowing it won't change what already happened,” said Liz. “It won't bring Chelsea back.”

The concrete median project is expected to run through mid-November, weather permitting.

Traffic will detour on County Road 112 through Orono and Long Lake.

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