Frequently Asked Questions
What options are under consideration?
4-lane: This option prioritizes maintaining two lanes of traffic (each way) through town.
- East of town, there is room for some additional turn lanes and also for a center median in order to help reduce traffic speed. In town however, space becomes much more constricted.
3-lane: This alternative includes a single driving lane in each direction, along with a center left-turn lane and additional space for right-hand turn lanes and safer parking spaces.
- This option reallocates pavement space to maximize safety for all modes of travel. It provides additional pedestrian safety and helps regulate vehicle speeds through traffic calming enhancements. It increases the distance between motorists and sidewalks, which improves the buffer for pedestrians and creates more snow storage in winter months for maintenance staff.
Why would we consider a 3-lane option?
- It would reduce opportunities for rear-end, left turn, and sideswipe crashes.
- Vehicles on side-streets can more comfortably enter the mainline roadway because there are fewer lanes to cross. It can also reduce side-street delay.
- Separating left turning traffic has been shown to reduce delays at intersections.
- It helps provide more consistent traffic flow because of the reduced speed differential.
- It makes crossing the roadway easier for pedestrians, as they have one fewer lane to cross and are exposed to moving traffic for a shorter period of time.
- Can improve emergency response times as a center turn lane and wider shoulders allow traffic to move aside more quickly. The center turn lane provides a more predictable path for the emergency response vehicle.
- They present an opportunity to re-plan the roadway space for wider shoulders, turn lanes, parking lanes, improved intersection turn radius and pedestrian crossing improvements.
- Is a low-cost solution, particularly in cases where only pavement marking modifications are needed.
If you remove a travel lane, won’t the traffic backup with congestion?
- No. Typically 3-lane sections do not adversely affect travel times within a corridor; rather, clearing travel lanes of left-turning traffic actually improves operations.
- For example, when a corridor has numerous access points (driveways), the majority of through traffic tends to utilize the outside travel lanes to avoid being delayed by left turning vehicles slowing and stopping in the inside travel lanes. These types of 4-lane corridors essentially behave like a three-lane road. As such, when these 4-lane corridors are converted to a three-lane section, they are unlikely to increase congestion.
Why do you provide so much information on the 3-lane option? It sounds like your mind is made up.
- Like many traffic safety concepts, changing to a 3-lane corridor can be counter intuitive. So it requires that more information be provided in order to provide greater context on why to consider it. Residents already drive on a 4-lane corridor and understand better what that will look like in the end. MnDOT will only implement a 3-lane section if the City of Fosston supports and requests it.
Would it be possible to go back to a 4-lane if it’s found that the 3-lane didn’t work out as intended?
- Yes. If the 3-lane option is selected, the corridor would be re-striped in 2022 which would allow for the option to be verified prior to any permanent changes made with the 2028 construction project.
How will a decision be made?
- The Community Review Panel will make a recommendation to the Fosston City Council for a final decision.
Is there anything that will be done regardless of which option is selected?
- The pavement will need to be replaced within the next 10 years. That construction project is tentatively scheduled for 2028 and will also include any required pedestrian accessibility improvements to ensure the sidewalk facilities meet existing codes.
If we choose to do nothing, will there still be any construction?
- Yes, during the pavement replacement project.
When will the project take place?
- The corridor will be reconstructed in 2028.
What types of landscaping will be included in the project?
- Additional landscaping that is outside the scope of the 2028 construction project would be at the discretion of the city. Landscaping won’t need to be decided until closer to the future construction project.
How is it paid for?
- MnDOT pays for greenspace that is included in the normal scope of the project. If the City opted to include additional landscaping, or site beautification options, they would be responsible for the cost and maintenance. The City could also seek out additional funding sources to pay for these additions.
Won’t additional landscaping be too expensive and too hard to maintain?
- If implemented, landscaping will add local cost shares to construction and maintenance. However, along with increasing aesthetics it provides traffic calming benefits such as reduced traffic speeds and additional buffers for pedestrians from traffic.
- Additional landscaping is purely a local decision and the City of Fosston would need to determine its own cost benefit. Those decisions aren’t needed until the 2028 construction project is designed.
How many vehicles use Highway 2 in Fosston each day?
- 4,000 to 6,000 per day.
How does that change in the summer?
- It can spike to the peak volume of 6,000 vehicles per day. The rate increase is consistent to that of other corridors located in lake traffic areas.
What do people think of the current speeds people are driving?
- In 487 survey responses:
- 55% thought they were just right
- 40% felt they were too fast
- 5% thought they were too slow
How will people get back onto the highway with a 3-lane option?
- Research from FHWA (Federal Highway Administration), state DOT’s and case studies from cities in Minnesota have shown that access is statistically easier with a 3-lane section and they can easily accommodate traffic volumes double to those of Fosston.
Would a 3-lane corridor affect my business negatively?
- The case studies show that converting to a 3-lane can actually increase visitors and business revenue.
- 3-lane corridors can improve safety, convenience, and quality of life for all road users.
What about when traffic spikes on Friday’s in the summer?
- The traffic volumes (4,000-6,000 vehicles per day) take that into account.
How will semi’s and farm equipment be affected?
- Bumpouts at intersections allow for an increased turning radius, which makes turning oversize vehicles easier.
Will it accommodate large farm equipment?
- Although it isn’t safe to drive oversized farm vehicles through town, the current layout provides approximately 30 feet of space with the two driving lanes and small shoulder. A 3-lane option would provide 36.5 feet of space with the driving lane, shoulder and left-turn lane.
Why do ADA improvements need to be done?
- MnDOT is obligated by policy to ensure that pedestrian facilities meet state and federal standards. This means that anytime MnDOT conducts a construction project, it must also review the current facilities and make improvements regardless to the amount of bike/pedestrian use there may be.
Can we delay ADA improvements, or get a waiver to skip them?
- No, they are required with any highway construction project.
What improvements need to be made?
- A final determination won't be made until an extensive review is completed as part of the engineering development of the 2028 project. Generally, sidewalks need to maintain a minimum of 5 feet of unobstructed walking space and include accessible ramps and signal devices.
Are there other improvements that can be made?
- 4-lane roadways are inherently more dangerous to pedestrians than 3-lane sections (or 2-lane), simply because there are additional lanes to cross. Additionally when trying to cross multiple lanes next to each other, it’s difficult to judge whether the traffic in each lane will stop.
- By reducing traffic to a single lane in each direction, it allows for more clear and focused decision making for pedestrians and drivers.
- Center islands provide a refuge area so a pedestrian only needs to cross one direction of traffic at a time.
- In the current configuration a pedestrian must cross all four lanes at once.
Wouldn’t crossing the highway be more difficult for pedestrians with three lanes because there would be more congestion?
- No. Traffic levels in Fosston would have to double before congestion would become a problem. Although a 3-lane option isn’t a good solution for all roads, when installed in the right locations, they have little to no impact on the traffic flow.
Wouldn’t sidewalk bumpouts create more work for snow removal?
- Yes. It is a trade off, but the added safety benefits to both motorists and pedestrians outweigh the additional efforts.
How will the entrances to my property be affected?
- None of the options would remove any current property accesses.
Are there any case studies of cities that converted to a 3-lane corridor?
- Yes. You can find out more about their experience with these case studies
Are there any other examples of cities that have switched to a 3-lane corridor?
Yes. In 2018 the City of Glenwood reconstructed Highway 28 from a 4-lane to a 3-lane. The project also included pedestrian crossing enhancements, additional parking and sidewalk bumpouts.
- The traffic volumes in Glenwood are similar, or higher, to those of Fosston at 4,750 to 7,900 vehicles per day.
- Glenwood is also a lake community and they have not experienced an increase in congestion or travel delay.
- You can access the project webpage at mndot.gov/d4/projects/glenwood.
Isn’t Highway 10 in Wadena converting from a 3-lane to a 4-lane?
- No. Along with widening shoulders, the project will maintain one lane of traffic in each direction. Their current shared center-left turn lane will be replaced with a concrete center median and include left hand turn lanes.
What are the traffic volumes in Wadena?
- 10,000 to 11,000 cars per day
I heard Hwy 95 in Cambridge is a 3-lane corridor and it doesn’t work well.
- One significant difference with that comparison is that that corridor has significantly higher traffic volumes. Anywhere from 11,700 to 24,700 vehicles per day depending on location.
Where can I find more information?
Where can I find information on traffic volumes?
- You can access MnDOT’s Traffic Mapping Application.
Can the public weigh in on the project?
- Absolutely! MnDOT is only looking to do a project that is supported by the community. They have partnered with the City of Fosston in order to find the best local solution.
How has the community been included with this study?
- Along with individual comments that have been provided, the process includes:
- 4 Community Review Panel meetings
- 2 Public Open Houses
- 1 online survey
- Ultimately the Fosston City Council will provide a recommendation to MnDOT as to what alternative is selected.
What was in the online survey and can I see the results?
You can access the survey report (PDF).
What is the role of the community review panel?
The goal of the community review panel was to create a committee of community leaders, residents and business owners that would represent the communities interests throughout the entire corridor study process. This community based approach allowed for a direct connection to invested stakeholders through a transparent and collaborative process. The panel helped to identify the current issues, priorities and develop project alternatives, while fostering conversations within the community.