INDEPENDENCE, Minn. (KMSP) - Highway 12 is deemed one of the deadliest stretches in Minnesota.
If drivers are obeying the law they zip past each other, in close proximity, moving in opposite directions at up to 60 miles an hour on the venturesome highway.
Over the past five years, 28 people have died in crashes on Highway 12. In the same time frame, there have been 600 crashes along its territory.
“It has a death rate of nearly four deaths per mile on that stretch of road that far exceeds the safety standards that we have set for the rest of the state highways,” Rep. Jerry Hertaus (R-Dist. 33A) told FOX 9.
The highway is only six miles long and runs between Wayzata and Delano, but understandably the construction starting at County Road 92 on July 20 comes as welcome relief.
“They will start each night at 7:00 p.m. and all lanes of Highway 12 will reopen at 5:30 a.m. each morning after closures,” MNDOT Public Affairs Coordinator Susan Youngs told FOX 9.
Crews will work to separate left turning traffic from traffic moving along Highway 12 through late August.
According to Youngs, the project should pave a short-term solution at the problematic intersection.
“We believe it will improve safety, it will take the left turning traffic and separate through traffic on Highway 12 and hopefully help stop the collisions we’ve seen there,” said Youngs.
Hertaus told FOX 9 Highway 12 is the last rural section of Highway in the state that sustains the same volume of traffic found in the Twin Cities Metro.
“92 is a dog leg that needs to be eliminated because it makes two intersections out of one. In order to do that there’s significant realignment that needs to occur and that’s expensive,” said Hertaus.
The Highway 12 realignment price tag exceeds $15 million.
“We still really do need the bonding bill,” Hertaus insisted.
Come October a separate project to install concrete barriers on the Highway’s scary “Super Two” should wrap up.
This year’s quick construction fixes Hertaus believes are the least the State can do.
“I’d be happy to demand a divided four-lane highway all the way to South Dakota, but in the spirit of compromise I’ll settle on that six miles!” he laughed.
The construction at County Road 6 to prevent crossover accidents will start in September and run through late August.
Both projects should be complete by late October.
These projects alone cost the state $900,000.