US 71 Bemidji Corridor Improvement Project

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US 71 Bemidji Corridor Improvement Project

Welcome to the US 71 Bemidji Corridor Improvement Project virtual open house. The goal of the project is to make improvements to intersections that will improve safety along US 71 between Highway 197 to Winter Sumac Road. The intersection improvements will be included in MnDOT’s resurfacing project in 2022. This virtual presentation is a follow up to the open house that took place in December 2019.

Project Limits Map

US 71 project area map


Click the image above to enlarge.

About this presentation

The entire session should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. We look forward to receiving your input and continuing to inform people of the project. Thank you for your participation in our online engagement.

Following guidance from state health officials to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has temporarily postponed all public meetings and in-person events. Public engagement on transportation and construction projects remains a priority and we appreciate you joining us online to learn more about this project.

How to navigate:

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Click the arrows on the right of your screen to go forward or the left to go backward. Use the navigation bar on the left of your screen to revisit any part of the meeting.

Click through all 15 slides to learn more about the next steps for each of the eight intersections.


How to participate:

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Provide a comment at any point by clicking the “Comment” button at the top right of your screen. You may close the form to continue through the slides. Once finished, please make sure to hit "Submit" to confirm that your comment is sent to the project team. All comments must be received by December 15.


Project Overview

Information and needs

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning to resurface a portion of the US 71 corridor between Highway 197 and Winter Sumac Road near Bemidji. As part of this project, MnDOT is planning to reconfigure eight intersections to improve safety, road and drainage conditions, and traffic congestion.

Currently the project area has crash frequency and severity rates greater than the state average. A goal of the project is to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes by use of Reduced Conflict Intersections (RCIs). The project team evaluated many options for improvement at each of the intersections.

Study recommendations

The recommended intersection improvements will:

  • Improve intersection safety
  • Reduce congestion
  • Improve pavement driving surface
  • Improve drainage
  • Provide intersection control consistency

Intersection solutions

Continue through this virtual engagement to see the recommended adjustments for each intersection. Final design is scheduled for Fall of 2020 to December of 2021 with construction anticipated to start in spring of 2022.

Traffic Crashes Map

Map showing where crashes occur


Click the image above to enlarge.

Engagement Summary

Community involvement

Our team has been engaging with the Bemidji community to gather input that will help the project team create a vision and provide the right improvements for the US 71 intersections. Our recent engagement efforts are outlined below.

Community review panel

Our project team hosted four Community Review Panel meetings, which included representatives from:

  • City of Bemidji
  • Local business owners
  • Beltrami County
  • Bemidji Township
  • Bemidji Ambulance
  • Paul Bunyan Transit
  • Bemidji Chamber of Commerce
  • MnDOT

The meetings focused on the goals for the project and the exploration of different intersection options. We shared information regarding construction costs, cost/benefit analysis, and different traffic options and intersection configurations. The meetings took place in:

  • December 2019
  • January 2020
  • February 2020
  • October 2020 (virtual meeting)

Note: The Community Review Panel meetings between March and September were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Open house

Our project team held an open house with the public in December 2019. We shared the project’s purpose, goals, and proposed intersection improvements and were on hand to answer questions.

We also collected written feedback that informed how we designed the recommended improvements for each intersection.

Example comment cards recieved


Innovative intersection solutions

The next two slides contain the new intersection design options being explored for this project. Roundabouts and reduced conflict intersections (RCIs) are two intersection types that are proven to improve safety and reduce congestion. Learn more about these intersections before exploring our recommendations for US 71.

Roundabouts

About roundabouts

In short, roundabouts work well. A roundabout used at the right location will help you get through the intersection more safely and in less time. Pavement markings, curves at entry points, and raised islands direct traffic into a one-way counter-clockwise flow around the central island.

Benefits of roundabouts:

  • Allows drivers to get through the intersection more safely and in less time
  • Handles more traffic with less waiting than most stop signs or traffic signals
  • Slows traffic down to make entering and exiting the area easier for all users
  • Reduces the risk for higher speed crashes as traffic volumes increase

Learn more about roundabouts:

For additional information on roundabouts: www.mndot.gov/roundabouts

Simple roundabout diagram


Click the image above to enlarge.

Reduced Conflict Intersections

About reduced conflict intersections (RCIs)

Reduced Conflict Intersections are intersections that decrease fatalities and injuries caused by broadside (T-bone) crashes on four-lane divided highways. In some parts of the country, RCIs are sometimes referred to as J-turns or RCUTs.

In an RCI, drivers always make a right turn, followed by a U-turn. Motorists approaching divided highways from a side street cannot 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. Drivers turning right turn directly into the left turn lane. The Minnesota law was changed to make this maneuver legal.

Basic RCI navigation instructions


Click the images shown here to enlarge.

Benefits of RCIs:

RCIs improve safety because drivers from the side street only have to be concerned with one direction of traffic on the highway at a time, which gives the driver less to look at and decide all at once. A RCI also breaks the crossing of a high-speed two-lane highway into separate safer movements since you do not need to wait for a gap in both directions to cross a major road.

Key Safety Benefits Statewide Experience

Eliminates four critical right angle conflict points

78% reduction in right angle crashes
86% reduction in fatal/serious injury crashes

Trades four critical conflicts for two additional turning/merge points

27% increase in rear end, side swipe, and run off road crashes

25% reduction in total conflict points

12% total reduction in crashes statewide
46% overall reduction in injury crashes

RCIs have resulted in reduced crashes when compared to through-stop intersections. Note: data is from A Study of the Traffic Safety at Reduced Conflict Intersections in Minnesota

Comflict points comparison


Learn more about RCIs:

For additional information on RCIs and conflict point reduction: www.mndot.gov/roadwork/rci

US 71 Intersection Recommendations

Recommendation selection

The next eight slides outline the suggested changes for each of the intersections that best accomplished these two goals:

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Proactively improves safety of the corridor

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Feasibility from a long-term operations perspective

MnDOT is recommending these improvements for eight US 71 corridor intersections based on community input and technical analysis. Community input included discussions with stakeholders such as Beltrami County, Northern Township, the City of Bemidji and the broader community. The technical analysis included intersection operations and safety analyses, benefit/cost analysis and consideration of the key decision factors.

Selected intersections:

  • US 71 and Anne Street
  • US 71 and Net Way
  • US 71 and Fern Street
  • US 71 and Blueberry Lane
  • US 71 and Balsam Road
  • US 71 and Lakewood Drive
  • US 71 and Glidden Road
  • US 71 and Winter Sumac Road

Tell us what you think

Please read each of the intersection slides to learn more about what we are planning. You can provide feedback on the recommendations in the comments box on each slide.

Project Intersections Map

Map of seven intersections with proposed redesigns


Click the image above to enlarge.

US 71 and Anne Street

Recommended intersection type: Roundabout

A roundabout is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Anne Street.

It will take the place of the current traffic-signaled controlled crossing. This option will provide a significant increase to motorist safety, provide additional lane space for the peak afternoon traffic levels and reduce delays, and reduce the potential of severe crashes.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
Roundabout intersection diagram

Roundabout elements:

  • Designed to accommodate a wide range of vehicle types
  • Includes crosswalks for pedestrians
  • Dedicated right turn bypass lanes to help reduce traffic backups
  • Will lower speeds for US 71 and Anne Street traffic to improve safety

In this design, Hannah Avenue will move to align with Minnkota Avenue along Anne Street. This will add more space between the US 71/Anne Street intersection and Anne Street/Hannah Avenue intersection to reduce traffic backups.

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

US 71 and Net Way

Recommended intersection type: Reduced Conflict Intersection

A reduced conflict intersection is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Net Way.

The intersection changes will help to improve safety by adjusting access routes from Net Way onto US 71 to reduce the potential of severe crashes here.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
Net Way intersection diagram

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

US 71 and Fern Street

Recommended intersection type: Reduced Conflict Intersection

A reduced conflict intersection is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Fern Street.

The intersection changes will improve safety by adjusting access to Fern Street to reduce the potential of severe crashes.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
intersection diagram

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

US 71 and Blueberry Lane

Recommended intersection type: Reduced Conflict Intersection

A reduced conflict intersection is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Blueberry Lane.

The intersection changes will improve safety by adjusting access to Blueberry Lane, Lakes Concrete and Northwoods Lumber to reduce the potential of several crashes.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
intersection diagram

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

US 71 and Balsam Road

Recommended intersection type: Reduced Conflict Intersection

A reduced conflict intersection is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Balsam Road.

The intersection changes will improve safety by adjusting access routes from US 71 onto Balsam Road and from Balsam Road onto US 71 to reduce the potential of severe crashes.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
intersection diagram

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

US 71 and Lakewood Drive

Recommended intersection type: Reduced Conflict Intersection

A reduced conflict intersection is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Lakewood Drive.

The intersection changes are focused on improving safety by adjusting access routes from US 71 onto Lakewood Drive and from Lakewood Drive onto US 71 to reduce the potential of severe crashes.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
intersection diagram

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

US 71 and Glidden Road

Recommended intersection type: Reduced Conflict Intersection

A reduced conflict intersection is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Glidden Road.

The intersection changes are focused on improving safety by adjusting access routes between US 71 and Glidden Road, and US 71 and Town Hall Road to reduce the potential of severe crashes.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
intersection diagram

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

US 71 and Winter Sumac Road

Recommended intersection type: Standard intersection

A standard intersection with left turn lanes is the recommended improvement for the intersection of US 71 and Winter Sumac Road.

The intersection changes will provide improved safety and consistency with the other two-lane intersections along US 71. Left turn lanes will be added on US 71 at Winter Sumac Road. A left turn lane will also be added at East Movil Lake Road.


Click the map or intersection design images to enlarge.

Featured intersection map
intersection diagram

Your feedback

Let us know what you think or what questions you have in the comment box.

Stay Connected

Thank you for your interest in the US 71 Bemidji Corridor Improvement Project

Share

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It is important for the community to understand what is being proposed and why these improvements were selected. Please pass along the link to this virtual open house to your family, friends and coworkers that use US 71 in this area so they know what to expect and can sign up for email updates.


Comments or questions

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To submit a general comment or question for the project team to review, click on the comment button in the top right corner of your screen and submit your message. All comments must be received by December 15.


Sign up

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For more information about the project and to sign up to receive email updates, please visit: www.mndot.gov/d2/projects/hwy71-bemidji


Connect

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Join the Facebook group:
MnDOT | Northwest Minnesota


Contact the project team

Joe McKinnon, PE
MnDOT Project Manager
218-214-0473
Joseph.mckinnon@state.mn.us

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