Dangerous Clay Countyintersection to become four-way stop
MOORHEAD -- A Clay County intersection with a history of fatal crashes, including one in December that killed a 21-year-old woman, will be made into a four-way stop later this month.
"We just want to add another measure of safety out there," said Tom Swenson, traffic engineer for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Swenson said the move is in response to a Dec. 15 crash at the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and Clay County Highway 12, also known as the convent road, or 60th Avenue Southwest.The crash killed Krista McCleary, who was driving to Moorhead from Fargo.
McCleary was eastbound on 60th Avenue when she stopped for a stop sign and then pulled out in front of a truck that was southbound on Highway 75, according to an account the driver of the truck gave to authorities.
In a statement released after the crash, the Minnesota State Patrol also said the eastbound vehicle failed to yield.
McCleary's death was the seventh reported at the intersection in the past 20 years, a period during which there have been about 40 crashes at that spot, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
At the time of the latest crash, state and county officials were in the process of planning for construction of a roundabout at that location in 2011. The roundabout is aimed at slowing speeds at the intersection, which has stop signs on 60th Avenue but not on Highway 75.
In 2008, as a step to improve safety at the intersection until a roundabout is built, the county and state teamed up to make changes that included installing overhead lighting, larger stop signs, new rumble strips on 60th Avenue and flashers to alert drivers to the presence of the intersection.
"We did want to do as many things as we could to make it safe between the time we made the decision to do the roundabout and 2011, when we got it in," Swenson said.
Lights will frame the edges of the additional stop signs when they go in later this month - likely starting the week of the 25th, said Swenson said, who added the new signs could be confusing for some.
He said the most dangerous time for a four-way stop is the first few weeks of operation, when drivers familiar with a stretch of road encounter something they are not used to.
In addition to stop signs with parameter lights, "stop ahead" signs with parameter lights will be set up and Highway 75 will get rumble strips.
Electronic message boards will be used on Highway 75 to give drivers an additional heads-up that a stop is coming.
"We want to get their attention when they're up there," Swenson said.