Changes at Maple Grove Intersection Help Curb Crashes
Ten-thousand to 15,000 people travel through the intersection of Elm Creek Boulevard and County Road 81 daily in Maple Grove. With that amount of traffic, half a dozen crashes were taking place every year, many of them T-bone style collisions. However officials say that won’t be the case anymore.
“We do an annual report and we look for hot spots as to where you might see crashes,” says Maury Hooper, traffic operations division manager at Hennepin County. “The randomness of crashes is difficult to really predict but this one stood out because there was a frequency. It caught the public’s eye, it caught the cities eye and it caught our eye.”
Intersection Crashes Prompt Changes
In 2016 there was a deadly crash that made officials decide to make some changes. Now, in 2019 the changes are proving to be positive.
The intersection was experiencing approximately five to six crashes a year. About half of those accidents occurred at right angles. In 2018 the crashes decreased to two crashes. Officials believe the reason for the downturn was making the signals at the intersection more visible.
“Some of the changes that we made include repainting the signals. You can see that with bright yellow,” said David Sheen, Hennepin County transportation safety engineer. “We changed the signal heads. They used to be an arrow. To increase visibility of the signal heads it was changed to be a circular indication, a ball, and an additional head was added to the right side.”
Hennepin County spent $15,000 on improvements to the intersection. Another issue facing this area is drivers frequently running red lights. Hennepin County is working with Maple Grove police to tackle that issue.