Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 2/197 Access Management

Bemidji to Wilton, Beltrami County

study area map


What is Access Management?

Access management is the planning, design, and implementation of land use and transportation strategies intended to:

  • Maintain a steady flow of traffic
  • Accommodate the access needs of adjacent businesses and developments
  • Minimize crash issues
  • Driveway location, spacing, and design
  • Use of service and frontage roads; and
  • Land use policies that limit right-of-way access to highways.

Why manage access?

For the long term safety along the corridor. One reason managing access on major roads is so important is that driver safety is reduced when access is not properly located and designed. When driveway locations are too closely spaced, it may cause safety problems for motorists.

  • Check out the About tab for Access Management Strategies
  • Get the full details of the proposed alternatives for each segment in the Resources section
  • Refer to the Public Involvement tab to add your comments and keep up to date

The study

The study area is comprised of full access (through/stop) with right and left turn lanes at the majority of intersections along the corridor. The full access intersections are located in close proximity to each other (well below standard spacing guidelines) and in many cases are missing right and left turn lanes. In addition, many of the existing intersections are providing direct access to private driveways, which is typically avoided on high speed expressways where possible. With US 2 being a high speed expressway, the minor street crossing movements and left turns onto the major street are the most hazardous. Analysis of crash data shows that the most frequent type of severe intersection crash is a right angle – vehicle maneuvers that involve left turn and through movements crossing US 2.

Left turns from major street (turning off of US 2) are less hazardous than the minor street movements, and right turn movements are the least hazardous. Although the number of crashes at these intersections is currently low, when crashes do occur, they are often severe.

Crash Types:

  • Most common crash types are rear end and right angle. Rear end and right angle crashes account for 55 percent of all total crashes.
  • Injury related crashes represent approximately 33 percent of the total reported intersection crashes.

As traffic volumes continue to increase into the future, the number of crashes are also expected to increase, which may increase the potential for more severe crashes along US 2.

Access Management Strategies:

In evaluating improvements for US 2, the following key access management strategies are considered:

Turn Lanes

Exclusive turning lanes for vehicles remove stopped vehicles from through traffic. Left-turn lanes at intersections substantially reduce rear-end crashes. A major synthesis of research on left-turn lanes demonstrated that exclusive turn lanes reduce crashes between 18 to 77 percent (50 percent average) and reduce rear-end collisions between 60 and 88 percent.

3/4 Access

Crashes rates at restricted access intersections are typically lower than at similar 4-legged intersections.
Prohibiting/preventing movement at an intersection will reduce the crash rate, because the total number of conflict points is reduced. In addition, the primary movements contributing to right angle and high crash severity are prohibited, greatly reducing the number of crashes resulting in an injury.

Reduced Conflict Intersection (RCI)

One option for improving the safety of left turn movements is the reduced conflict intersection (RCI). RCI’s reduce the number of conflicts for turning vehicles and make the highway safer. A driver using an RCI has to look for gaps in traffic from only one, rather than two, directions at a time.

A MnDOT safety study of RCI installations throughout Minnesota found a 90 percent decrease in right angle crashes and a 100 percent decrease in fatal and incapacitated crashes.

Median Closure and Right in/Out

A median closure will separate opposing traffic and prevent vehicles from making left turn or through movements. Right-in/Right-out movements would still be provided. Median closures would be considered when too many full access median opening exist and there are other reasonable alternatives for motorists to make left turns.

Driveway Closure

Private driveways connections located in proximity to a public road can create safety issues because of the overlapping conflict points. Driveways located close to intersections create and contribute to operational and safety issues. Where possible private driveways with other alternative access options will be relocated, consolidated, or closed, as appropriate.

Frontage Road

A frontage road (also known as an access road, service road, parallel road) is a local road running parallel to a higher-speed, limited-access road. A frontage road is often used to provide access to private driveways, shops, houses, industries or commercial buildings. A frontage road is used in combination with median closures, driveway closures and other limited movement access treatments.