Is Minnesota Set to Finally Make Highway-14 Safer?
With local leaders set to host an open house to discuss the future of Highway-14 west of Rochester, will they finally make that dangerous highway safer?
I'm talking about that stretch of Highway-14 (technically U.S. Highway 14, if you're being precise) between Rochester west to Byron and Kasson. It's a four-lane stretch of road that has become more and more dangerous-- even deadly.
A little over a year ago, we were saddened with the news of yet another Highway-14 fatality, one that this time took the life of an 18-year-old passenger in a two-car, 'high-impact' crash at the intersection of Olmsted County Road 3.
And it's no wonder. That stretch of Highway-14 is REALLY busy, with cars flying by at speeds of 65 miles an hour-- or higher. The speed limit is posted at 65, but we all know traffic goes much faster than that-- all while cross traffic tries to navigate a path across, or a turn onto, Highway-14 without the benefit of acceleration lanes or off-ramps. Heck, there aren't even traffic signals!
While the County Road 3 intersection is dangerous, the County Road 104 intersection is even worse because it's much busier. That intersection is only about two miles from our house, and I use it often-- and dread it every time. It's not uncommon to have two cars in the median turn lane, trying to turn onto Highway-14 in opposite directions. It's a very unsafe set-up that almost invites a collision.
That intersection desperately needs an overpass, complete with on and off-ramps! It reminds me of what the Goodhue County Road 9 intersection with Highway-52 used to look like-- until MnDOT finally built an overpass there a year or so ago. Why our elected officials and state and county agencies have dropped the ball for so long on this issue is maddening.
I get that building an overpass there would no doubt be time-consuming and expensive, but with all the DMC expansion adding to Rochester's population, this death-trap intersection will only get busier. This is an issue that should have been on county and state planners' radar two decades ago.
Luckily, local leaders are doing something about it... finally. They're holding an open house Thursday night at the Byron City Hall to discuss the future of Highway-14-- and how to make it safer. You can get all the info on Thursday's meeting HERE.
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