Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

2017 Hwy 15 Improvements


About this project

Hwy 15 project location in Fairmont, between Goemonn Rd and Johnson St.
Hwy 15 construction zone

Construction updates

As of the middle of November 2017, construction on Highway 15 through Fairmont is nearly complete. The roadway resurfacing, sidewalk work, pipe repairs, sidewalk and traffic signal work on the project has been largely completed. There are some minor work items and cleanup work along the project that will continue this fall and into the spring of 2018.

Traffic signal upgrades

The signals on Highway 15 include new lights, pedestrian accessibility, flashing yellow arrows, battery backup and emergency vehicle preemption. 

Flashing yellow arrows

Drivers on Highway 15 in Fairmont will see new flashing yellow arrows appearing on traffic signals. These traffic signals feature a flashing yellow arrow in addition to the standard red, yellow and green arrows. When illuminated, the flashing yellow arrow allows waiting motorists to make a left-hand turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. This signal helps motorists make a safer and more efficient left-turn with fewer delays.

When the flashing yellow arrow displays, drivers are allowed to turn left after yielding to all oncoming traffic and to any pedestrians in the crosswalk. It is important to note that when the flashing yellow arrow is being displayed, oncoming traffic has a green light and drivers must wait for a safe gap in oncoming traffic before turning. Flashing yellow arrow signals have been shown to help drivers make fewer mistakes. They keep motorists safer during heavy traffic and reduce delays when traffic is light. A national study demonstrated that drivers found flashing yellow left-turn arrows more understandable than traditional yield-on-green indications (individual traffic signal lights).

Additionally, the new traffic signals provide traffic engineers with more options to handle variable traffic volumes. The flashing yellow arrow may be used at any intersection at any time, but the most typical use will be at intersections and times-of-day that have lower volumes, lower speeds and other favorable conditions. 

Flashing yellow arrow traffic signals were recently added along Highway 15 in Fairmont and New Ulm. They were deployed earlier in Mankato and Worthington. More information can be found at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/trafficeng/signals/flashingyellowarrow.html

Traffic signal detection cameras

With Highway 15 construction nearing completion, motorists in Fairmont can see new traffic detection cameras mounted on traffic signals throughout the corridor.
The cameras are used to tell the new traffic signals when vehicles are present and to ensure the correct amount of green time is provided to vehicles approaching the intersection.  Pointed at the pavement, the cameras sense when there is an object within their view and send a message to the traffic signal.

The cameras are not used for traffic law enforcement, in accordance with state law. The low-resolution cameras are not able to record or store images of drivers or license plates, and the images are not able to be viewed remotely.

The cameras are a cost-effective alternative to the traditional traffic signal detection sensors installed within pavement. Detection cameras are currently being utilized in other areas of south central Minnesota, including Waseca, Saint Peter and Mankato.

Summary of work

  • Pavement improvements, resurfacing
  • Refurbish or replace traffic signals, and upgrade signals to flashing yellow arrow
  • Update traffic signals to include accessible pedestrian systems
  • Update pedestrian ramps to meet ADA requirements
  • Remove and replace sections of poor sidewalk and curb and gutter
  • Perform spot repairs of the existing storm sewer lines


  • 2013 - Project scoping initiated
  • 2014 - Preliminary investigation of existing pavement, preliminary design and project coordination
  • 2015 - Collect locations of in-place utilities and complete project mapping, detailed project design, identify easements and construction limits
  • 2016 - Complete final design and obtain needed easements
  • 2017 - Advertise for bids spring of 2017
  • 2017 - Begin construction July 2017
  • 2017 - End construction, late fall 2017

2017 Traffic impacts

  • Watch for lane closures and traffic shifting to single lanes.
  • Brief traffic delays may occur at intersections along the project to complete the work.
  • Expect brief, in-town detour for storm sewer work.
  • This project will be coordinated with adjacent construction taking place on I-90 between Sherburn and Fairmont as well as work the City has planned for Margaret Street.
  • Business access will be maintained throughout the Hwy 15 project.