Hwy 53 safety improvements and preservation project


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Hwy 53 near Cotton








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Dangerous intersection

Video camera graphic within a red circle
Click here learn more about the benefits of J-Turn Intersections.

The intersection of Hwy 53 and County Hwy 52 in Cotton has been the scene of many serious and fatal crashes. It is rated as the third highest-crash-risk intersection in St. Louis County. MnDOT continually works to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries by improving highway and intersection design. MnDOT's involvement with theToward Zero Deaths (TZD) effort has helped reduce traffic deaths to the lowest level since 1944. Much information about research and safety improvements in intersection design is available on the TZD website.


J-Turn intersections

In 2008 MnDOT proposed building a J-Turn on Hwy 53 as part of a plan to improve safety. J-Turns reduce the chances of crashes when compared to a typical four-lane divided intersection where there are 42 conflict points. There are only 24 conflict points in a J-Turn intersection.


After the Cotton Town Board approved the proposal to build a J-Turn, MnDOT began designing the project which will be completed in 2012. The approximate cost of the J-Turn Intersection portion of this project is $830,000.

FHWA evaluation

Federal Highway Administration studies show that J-Turns are safer on high-speed, divided roadways. An FHWA evaluation in North Carolina concluded that J-Turns decreased cross-path crashes by 100 percent, reduced frontal impact crashes by a range of 72 to 84 percent and reduced total overall intersection crashes between 43 and 53 percent.

Engineering layout for Cotton J-Turn

The J-Turn in Cotton is designed so that drivers on Highway 52 will turn right onto Highway 53, then make a U-Turn at a one-way median opening about 1,300-feet down-road from the intersection. Motorists on Highway 53 will still be able to make right and left turns.


graphic showing the traffic movements in a J-Turn intersection

There are 42 conflict (crash) points in a standard, four-lane intersection. There are only 24 conflict points in a J-Turn intersection.




















































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