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Roundabout proposed for accident-prone intersection north of Crookston

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    A roundabout, also known as “a circular intersection or junction in which road traffic is permitted to flow in one direction around a central island” - Wikipedia, is being proposed for US Highway 75 and County Road 21 north of Crookston. The earliest the roundabout project could begin would be 2023 for construction.

    Polk County Engineer Rich Sanders told the Times there have been 19 crashes at that intersection since the beginning of 2010; five in 2010, one in 2012, one in 2016, one in 2017, two in 2018, six in 2019 and three in 2020. The 2016 crash was fatal.  

    Warning lights were installed at that intersection years ago because, at the time, Sanders noted, MNDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) and National Safety Experts thought they were “the next Swiss watch.”

    “After studying their (warning lights) effect after being in for multiple years, they found they have become less effective then when they were originally installed,” he explained. “Roundabouts remove the possibility of right angle crashes and therefore remove the chance for a fatal or serious injury crash. They have been installed in both an urban and rural setting throughout the state.”

    Sander noted that funding could come from the Highway Safety Improvement Program through Federal Highway which gives states funding for safety projects. Polk County and MNDOT would both receive funding to construct the roundabout as a safety improvement to the intersection, he added.

A rendering of the proposed roundabout north of Crookston