BEMIDJI, Minn. – A collaborative project between the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the Minnesota Department of Transportation to reduce crashes on Highway 2 and Cass County Road 75/Bingo Palace Road in Cass Lake is scheduled to begin on May 14.
“We’ve been developing this project with MnDOT for a couple of years now,” said Art Chase, Leech Lake Tribal Roads director. “The intersection has been a sustained crash location and this innovative design is going to make it much safer.”
The intersection redesign, called a Reduced Conflict Intersection, improves safety by significantly reducing crashes and fatalities. In other parts of the country these intersections are often referred to as a J-turn, R-cut or Michigan left.
The new intersection will not bring any changes to how motorists drive along Highway 2.
“The main difference with the new design,” said MnDOT project engineer Luke Johanneck. “Will only affect drivers on County Road 75 that want to make a left onto Highway 2 towards Cass Lake. Those drivers will now have to make a right, travel 800 feet then make a U-turn.”
Reduced Conflict Intersections simplify decisions and minimize the potential for crashes. According to the Federal Highway Administration these types of intersections reduce severe crashes by over 70 percent.
“They may seem counter-intuitive,” added Chase. “But simply put, they work.”
Highway 2 will remain open during construction, although lane closures and a speed reduction will be in effect. Motorists on County Road 75/Bingo Palace Road will be detoured to County Road 149.
Reierson Construction is the contractor for the $582,000 project and construction is expected to last through the middle of June.
Visit the project website to view a map of the new layout along with further details on Reduced Conflict Intersections at mndot.gov/d2/projects/2018/hwy2-casslake.