Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Highway 47 Improvements

St. Francis

Improvement and study information

Hwy 47 St. Francis project map
Hwy 47 St. Francis project map. Click map for larger PDF version.

MnDOT, in partnership with Anoka County and the city of St. Francis, is making improvements to Hwy 47 in the city of St. Francis. The four-lane divided highway northwest of the Twin Cities metro area has safety concerns, most notably, at the intersection of Hwy 47 and Pederson Drive NW.

To immediately address these concerns, MnDOT is using the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program. Minnesota TZD is the state’s proven traffic safety program that uses an interdisciplinary approach to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths on Minnesota roads by combining education, emergency medical and trauma services, enforcement and engineering. 

In addition to immediate improvements, MnDOT has begun a planning study of the Hwy 47 corridor to examine a range of alternatives to address pedestrian, bicycle and motorist safety, as well as road capacity, and access and mobility issues.

These efforts will develop short-, medium- and long-term solutions to improve safety for all users of the corridor.

Short-term solutions – December 2018 through February 2019

  • Completed Dec. 11, 2018: Install LED message signs at the entry points to the town of St. Francis. The messages will alert motorist not to exceed the speed limit on Hwy 47 and be cautious of pedestrian traffic.
  • Completed Dec. 18, 2018: Increase pedestrian warning sign and speed sign sizes for better visibility.
  • Completed Dec. 19, 2018: Review the speed limit throughout the corridor. A speed study determined the need to change the 50 mph speed limit to 45 mph.
  • Began Dec. 2018: Make educational materials about safety available to community leaders, schools and businesses.
  • Began Dec. 2018: Work with law enforcement to perform targeted enforcement efforts.
  • Began March 2018: A study of Hwy 47 within the city limits of St. Francis has begun. MnDOT is gathering information during the approximately one-year study which will be used to develop safety improvements along the entire Hwy 47 corridor within the city of St. Francis.

Medium-term solutions – March through September 2019

  • Completed March 2019: MnDOT placed new 45 mph speed limit signs up along with 35 mph speed limit signs near the schools.
  • Completed May 29, 2019: A temporary traffic signal has been installed at the intersection of Hwy 47 and Pederson Dr. NW. The new signal uses the familiar red-yellow-green lights to highway traffic when pedestrians are crossing, or when traffic is entering from Pederson Dr. NW. The new signal replaces the flashing warning lights. The signal project also includes removing the no left turn restriction from the St. Francis Middle School driveway, and installing a northbound right turn lane.
  • April 23, 2019: Hold community listening sessions to seek ideas and feedback from the community. These meetings will help with engineering design and future construction.
  • On-going: Work with community to continue education and enforcement.

Long-term solutions – October 2019 through March 2020

  • Tentatively 2021: Choose an engineering solution and identify funding for tentative construction beginning in 2022.
  • On-going: Work with community to continue education and enforcement.

Community solutions

  • Educate students and hand out MnDOT provided education.
  • Educate motorists on safety laws and pedestrian safety.
  • Fund a permanent crossing guard program at the intersection of Hwy 47 and Pederson Drive.
  • Parents of students could assist in the development of a Safe Routes to School program. A parent- volunteer would be needed to champion the efforts and fill out grant paperwork.

Safety tips


  • Look before you cross
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and show your intent to cross
  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections
  • Watch for turning and passing vehicles
  • Look across ALL lanes for moving vehicles before proceeding
  • Wear bright-colored or reflective clothing at night
  • Remove headphones and stay off cell phone while crossing


  • Stop for pedestrians at every intersection, even those without crosswalks or stoplights
  • Leave room between you and the pedestrian when stopping 
  • Look for pedestrians in all directions before proceeding through crosswalks
  • Scan the road and sides of the road ahead for pedestrians
  • Look carefully behind your vehicle before backing up
  • Watch for people in wheelchairs and motorized carts, who may be below eye-level 
  • Eliminate distractions — Put down your cell phone