7/24/2014 10:42:00 AM South 52 stoplight comes out
by Ken Haggerty
The new Hwy. 52 overpass, interchange and connecting roads project on the south end of Cannon Falls is nearing completion.
The overpass is complete, but construction continues on the ramps and roundabouts. Weather permitting, MnDOT is on track to open the entire project on Aug. 16 with everything connected, according to Mike Dougherty, Public Affairs Coordinator for MnDOT-District 6, Rochester.
The southern intersection by Dairy Queen was closed and the stoplights removed on Wednesday, July 16. Access to local businesses is still available from the northern stoplight by McDonald's and the Saratoga Motel, for now.
The northern intersection with the signal will come out and close on Aug. 16, said Dougherty. The city of Cannon Falls is conducting a safety study of a possible right-in, right-out at that intersection, but the study is not expected to be complete by that time. MnDOT officials told the Cannon Falls city council earlier this year that if the safety study showed the right-in, right-out as a viable option and if funding can be arranged for building it, 2016 was likely the earliest it would go in.
Dougherty says there will be signs and road markings to help guide people on the new roundabouts. There are two on each side of the new overpass. There is one at the top of each ramp and another shortly after that to guide traffic out of interchange area.
"We've found that people do maneuver through them well and crash statistics bear out the safety of these as helpful in reducing the number and severity of crashes," said Dougherty. "Sometimes people need to drive through them a few times to develop a comfort level just as they do with anything new they encounter."
MnDOT has a site on roundabouts for anyone with concerns: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roundabouts/index.html.