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Changes planned for Highway 10

While it's still in the planning stages, changes coming to the Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Road 60 intersection are set to be constructed in 2024.

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The Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Road 60 intersection is located a few miles outside of Perham. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

While it's still in the planning stages, changes coming to the Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Road 60 intersection are set to be constructed in 2024. This change is part of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Improvement Program, said Project Manager Joeb Oyster.

This program's goal is to improve highway locations that have become safety issues. Oyster said that, to identify areas of concern on roads, MnDOT will look at crash histories on certain sections of highways.

At the intersection between Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Road 60, a driver traveling on Otter Tail County Road 60 needs to cross four lanes of highway traffic to continue on that road. "What we've seen with vehicles at these types of intersections is crashes easily occur in the last two lanes," Oyster said.

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Construction on the Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Road 60 intersection is currently scheduled for 2024. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

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Along with studying the number of crashes on highways, MnDOT also identifies how severe said crashes are. On intersections such as Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Road 60, T-bone crashes are much more likely to occur than when someone just takes a left turn.

Because of this, MnDOT has identified this specific intersection for a change, that change being the construction of a U-turn. Oyster said that, while they did look into other alternatives, such as traffic signals, district traffic engineers took a look at the intersection and determined that a U-turn would be the best option.

"These changes have been shown to be successful in other areas," Oyster said.

MnDOT identified two different types of U-turns that would work and asked residents to fill out a survey that closed Tuesday, Aug. 10, to determine which option locals like more. They will be using the results of this survey to determine the specific change to be constructed.

Both designs will have sidewalks installed for pedestrians. More information on these different designs can be found on the project's page . The differences between the two plans are as follows:

Option One: Median U-turn

The center median would be closed, eliminated left-turn movements. Drivers would turn right and take a U-turn further down the road.

Option Two: Restricted crossing U-Turn

The design will be the same as option one, but the center median will remain open for Highway 10 traffic to turn left onto County Road 60.

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Once the results of the survey are reviewed and a specific U-turn is chosen, more in-depth planning will continue. A preliminary plan is scheduled for completion in 2023, and construction is scheduled for 2024.

"This is going to be new and different, same as roundabouts were new and different, and it will take a bit of getting used to," Oyster said. "(But) we want to improve road safety. It might take a little longer to take a turn to get where you want to go, but those seconds are worth it to stop severe crashes."

Elizabeth (she/her), 23, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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