ST. PAUL – To help protect construction workers and motorists, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is reducing speed limits on I-94 in both directions from the Highway 55 to I-694 from 60 mph to 50 mph starting tonight.
Since construction began in March, the Minnesota State Patrol and MnDOT have been concerned with motorists speeding in this area, risking the lives of construction workers and the traveling public.
The Minnesota State Patrol will conduct extra enforcement along this stretch of I-94 from now through October, when the construction is expected to be completed. Fines in construction zones start at $300 plus court fees. The speed limit is in effect at all times, whether workers are present or not.
“The 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads are during the summer months,” said Lt. Tiffani Nielson, Minnesota State Patrol. “Speeding through construction zones can put workers lives at risk. With reduced lanes and heavier traffic, there’s very little room for error. Please slow down and pay attention through construction zones in our state.”
“MnDOT urges motorists to drive with care at all times, but especially in work zones where there are crews working to make the roads better. Many times the distance between vehicles and where crews are working is a matter of feet. The reduction in speed will help ensure safety for construction workers and motorists,” said Jay Hietpas, state traffic engineer.
Since the beginning of the construction, State Troopers have been busy.
- Troopers have cited 119 motorists for speeding in the area.
- On May 22, a vehicle struck a construction truck with two workers standing nearby. Fortunately the workers were not injured because the vehicle struck a specially equipped “crash truck”
- In early May, a driver was involved in a rollover crash near a work crew. Fortunately the crew was not hit.
- Troopers have reported 275 crashes in the area since construction began in March.
More than 200 active work zones are scheduled throughout the state this construction season.
- In the last five years (2011-2015), 39 people have died and more than 3,700 people injured in Minnesota work zone traffic crashes.
- In 2015, 10 people died in work zone traffic crashes, the most since 2010 (12).
- When driving in a construction zone, slow down! Fines in construction zones start at $300 plus court fees
- Put the distractions away.
- Distracted driving is a leading factor in crashes in Minnesota.
- Drivers needs to focus 100 percent of their attention on the road, especially in work zones where there is increased congestion and lanes narrow.
- Move over for construction workers. Doing so increases safety for the workers and motorists alike.
- Check out 511mn.org for road closures, detours and traffic incidents.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Minnesota State Patrol
Nearly 600 Minnesota State Patrol troopers are the foundation of the agency that works to provide a safe environment on Minnesota’s roads by assisting motorists, taking enforcement action and educating drivers about traffic safety issues. In addition to road safety activities, troopers conduct flight patrols, search and rescue missions and assist other law enforcement agencies.
In 1929, the Minnesota Legislature created the Highway Patrol after lawmakers recognized the need for a traffic enforcement agency in response to the boom of automobiles. The first patrol force comprised 35 men. In 1970, the Highway Patrol became a division of the Department of Public Safety and, four years later, its official name was changed to the Minnesota State Patrol.