Resolving Troublesome Traffic Issues with Roundabouts

Challenge

Prior to construction, complex intersections at TH 61 and TH 97 were prone to vehicle crashes and unfriendly to both bicyclists and pedestrians trying to navigate their way across. Complex intersection geometrics posed issues for drivers and pedestrians alike, with a combined 60 crashes in the project area from 2007 to 2009. In addition, this corridor is in close proximity to Forest Lake Area High School, which has a high traffic volume around the school day start and end times.

Solution

The fundamental goal of the TH 61 and TH 97 Roundabouts project was to resolve poor levels of service and operations and improve safety at the north and south intersections of these two trunk highways. Close coordination with the City of Forest Lake and other stakeholders ultimately led to the selection of the preferred alternative to construct two roundabouts, realign northbound TH 61 and convert the old northbound pavement into an access road for the High School. This provided a safe place for buses to queue rather than on the TH 61 shoulder. Additional safety enhancements featured a grade-separated pedestrian bridge and designated at-grade pedestrian crossings. The design also incorporated a multi-use trail, completing a previously missing link to the Hardwood Creek Regional Trail.

Features

  • 2 new roundabouts
  • Grade separated pedestrian bridge (designed by MnDOT)
  • Designed at-grade pedestrian crossing
  • Rectangular rapid flash beacon
  • Multi-use trail

Awards

  • 2018 MN Chapter (ACEC-MN) Honor Award | American Council of Engineering Companies

Project
TH 61/ TH 97 Roundabouts

Location
Forest Lake, Minnesota

Client
Minnesota Department of Transportation Metropolitan District

Services
Highway design
Landscape architecture and design
Lighting design
Roundabouts
Survey
Traffic engineering
Water resources engineering