MnDOT to Improve Busy Highway-52 Bridge Known For Crashes, Traffic Back-Ups
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is finally considering changes to this busy bridge on Highway-52 known for its many traffic back-ups and crashes.
If you travel up Highway-52 to St. Paul, you've no doubt experienced the traffic back-ups that occur on the Lafayette Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River. Even though the bridge was redesigned, rebuilt, and officially opened in 2015, since then the northbound lanes where it merges with I-94 have been known for congested traffic and crashes, even outside typical Twin Cities drive times.
According to this Star Tribune story from 2018, MnDOT said much of the congestion is a result of two things: the sudden drop to 25 miles an hour (after cruising along at highway speeds); and a rather counterintuitive off-ramp layout.
I've driven that bridge enough to know how 'counterintuitive' it is. The story stays MnDOT also realizes the layout is confusing and, even back in 2018, was considering several changes to one of Minnesota's busiest bridges.
And now, it looks like they're finally going to address the bridge's issues where it merges with I-94. According to a post on Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins Facebook page, MnDOT will be installing a new sign along Highway-52 south of the bridge this fall that alerts drivers to back-ups and tries to explain which lane corresponds to which exit.
And, MnDOT is also commissioning "...a scope for consultant services for evaluation, environmental designs, and concept development for a northbound Highway-52 project heading over the bridge. This study will develop a layout of the ultimate solution for this area," which will improve back-ups and reduce crashes, Atkins noted.
Why MnDOT approved the current confusing configuration when it redesigned rhe bridge 10 years ago is a mystery. You'd think SOMEONE the MnDOT staff in St. Paul would have come up with a better way to engineer things, righ? Speaking of mysteries, keep scrolling to check out even MORE unsolved mysteries from here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes!