Minnesota’s first signalized Reduced Conflict Intersection receives federal funding
ROSEVILLE, Minn. – The Federal Highway Administration recently awarded $1 million to help fund Minnesota’s first signalized Reduced Conflict Intersection at the intersection of Highway 65 and Viking Boulevard in East Bethel. The funding, part of the FHWA’s Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration awards, was announced on Friday, Sept. 7. Minnesota was one of nine states sharing $8.4 million in funding to improve safety and operational efficiency of roads and bridges using cutting-edge pavement materials, engineering techniques, and connected-vehicle technology.
“These states are leading the way in implementing innovative solutions to improve safety and mobility on America’s roadways,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson. “Their creative approaches to delivering better quality and more cost-effective solutions in roadbuilding and operations are sure to inspire other states in using such methods.”
The program works closely with FHWA’s On-Ramp to Innovation Every Day Counts program to encourage the delivery of innovation in transportation projects. The techniques and methods used on all AID Demonstration projects follow all applicable federal regulations and policies to ensure that roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure are built safely for use by the traveling public. A two-year project to build six Reduced Conflict Intersections on Highway 65 in Ham Lake and East Bethel is currently underway. The first of this year’s two projects began in mid-July at the intersections of 157th Avenue and 187th with Highway 65 in Ham Lake and East Bethel. Construction will wrap up at both locations by early late October 2018.
The remaining four RCIs will be built during the 2019 construction season at 143rd Avenue, 153rd Avenue, 181st Avenue and Viking Boulevard. The RCI at Viking Boulevard and Highway 65 in East Bethel will be the first signalized RCI in Minnesota.
In an RCI, drivers always make a right turn, followed by a U-turn. Motorists approaching divided highways from a side street are not allowed to make left turns or cross traffic; instead, they are required to turn right onto the highway and then make a U-turn at a designated median opening. This reduces potential conflict points and increases safety.
The project also includes lengthening the left turn lanes at nine locations between East Bethel and Spring Lake Park. All work on RCIs and turn lanes will be completed by fall 2019. Construction of RCIs and turn lane improvements will improve safety and mobility on the Hwy 65 corridor between 85th Avenue in Spring Lake Park and Sims Road in East Bethel.
For more information on the Highway 65 Reduced Conflict Intersections project, and turn lane extension work, a list of project locations or to sign up for updates, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy65rci/. Additional information about Reduced Conflict Intersections is available at www.dot.state.mn.us/roadwork/rci/.
For more information about these grants, and FHWA’s AID demonstration program, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/accelerating/grants.