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MnDOT answers concerns about signal lights

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Not only is the Minnesota Department of Transportation hearing complaints, it is responding as well.

Thursday morning, Mn/DOT changed the signal lights at Highway 59 and County Road 6 from protected to protected permissive.

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"It used to have a green light, now you can use the green arrow or green ball," said Oliver Kendall, Mn/DOT engineering specialist in traffic.

When turning from Highway 59 onto County Road 6, he said people used to have to wait a long period of time. Some, he said, would even ignore the light and turn on a red.

Mn/DOT can change the signal system because guidelines have changed. Whether it has to be protected (green arrow only) or protected permissive (arrow or ball), is determined by speed and visibility in that particular area.

The change at Highway 59 and County Road 6 is the first in the area, and likely the only traffic signal to see that change.

Although there is a waiting period at the intersection of Highway 10 and Airport Road, Kendall said there are no plans to change that signal from protected. High speeds and the fact that there is a median bring too much danger to allow permissive lights.

After the construction at Highway 10 and Highway 59 is completed, the intersection will stay protected, but Kendall said with the added left turn lane -- there will be two off Highway 10 -- the flow of traffic will be much quicker and easier.

There is more to changing out the signal system than programming. A new section head had to be installed from three red, yellow and green balls, to five to include the two arrows. With that change came more wiring as well.

Kendall warned motorists to continue practicing safe driving because vehicles are still traveling 55 to 60 miles per hour in that area.

"We had gotten complaints about people having to sit there for too long," Kendall said.

Problem solved.

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