Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Congressional Transportation Status Report

About District 3


District 3 Overview

Enhancing Financial Effectiveness

MnDOT is focused on stretching tax payer dollars while continuing to deliver effective and highly valued products, services and programs. Today we are using technology, partnerships, performance-based design, contracting methods, etc. to reduce costs, save time and limit impacts to travelers, shippers and businesses all to deliver efficient and reliable multimodal transportation. A strategic priority, financial effectiveness is demonstrated by the following programs, among others, at MnDOT District 3.


  • The newly-completed Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) on Minnesota Highway 15 at Stearns County Highway 120 is a four-lane bridge built to better accommodate left-turning traffic and to move more traffic with fewer travel lanes.
  • DDI traffic signals run shorter, more efficient cycles, resulting in reduced driver delay. Equally important, the DDI configuration improves safety by eliminating standard intersection geometrics and conflict points, cutting overall traffic delays by up to 60 percent. The DDI at this location significantly reduced the size of bridge needed to handle projected future traffic volumes. The smaller bridge had a lower construction cost and will require lower maintenance costs. The project was completed in 2014.
  • The Highway 10/County Road 2 interchange in Rice uses a non-standard design to reduce right of way and construction costs while also minimizing impacts to the local road system. The design uses a parallel county road to connect the Hwy 10 exit and entrance ramps, while still serving local and business traffic.

Low Cost/High Benefit Projects to Reduce Fatal Crashes

The district continuously evaluates projects and programs to find efficient ways to address safety. Below are a few examples of those efforts.

  • A major initiative is underway to upgrade signing throughout the district, with special emphasis placed on improved marking of high speed rural curves. At an average cost of $5,000 a mile, the signs are expected to reduce run-off-the-road crashes on high-speed rural curves. The new signs are also brighter and more durable than previous signs.
  • In 2012, the district implemented a strategy to install rural intersection lighting at all trunk highway to trunk highway intersections. These intersections tend to carry some of the highest traffic volumes in rural areas. The project was completed in spring 2013 at a cost of approximately $15,000 per intersection.
  • The district maintains an ongoing effort to improve signal systems and timing. In addition to routine signal system and timing upgrades at major intersections, the district recently upgraded four signal systems at busy railroad crossings to improve the time cars have to clear the railroad track before a train crosses.
  • Turn lanes can be one of the more efficient ways to address safety, especially on higher speed, two-lane rural roads. District 3 has an aggressive schedule to extend existing turn lanes and install new turn lanes in higher risk locations. Turn lane extensions or additions are added as part of larger construction and maintenance projects to take advantage of scales of efficiency and reduce mobilization costs. The district also targets higher risk locations with more immediate needs using funds specifically designated for safety projects; these projects use limited safety funds at locations that promise the highest return on investment in reduced crash costs.
  • In 2013 through 2015, the district will install high-tech Rural Intersection Collision Warning Systems (RICWS) at four intersections at an average cost of approximately $165,000 per location. RICWS have been shown to decrease the most severe types of crashes ( right angle, or “T-bone” crashes) by approximately 35 percent. More information on these systems and the RICWS program can be found at mndot.gov/designbuild/ricws/.


To improve transit efficiency and reduce the cost per ride while maintaining quality transit service, the district participates in the Transit for Our Future initiative. In 2013 District 3 facilitated the city of Pine River's transit service consolidation into the larger Brainerd/Crow Wing public transit system. The move maintained service in Pine River while reducing overall costs.