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Use caution driving through work zones

The Minnesota Depart-ment of Transportation (MnDOT) urges motorists to use extra caution while driving through highway work zones this Memorial Day weekend.

Plan ahead, think about alternate routes or go to to get advance information about road construction and detours.

“With hundreds of construction projects going on around the state, work zone safety is crucial during this busy weekend,” said Mike Barnes, MnDOT’s Operations director. “We ask drivers to pay attention in work zones and make it a safe weekend for everyone.”

Highway projects that may affect weekend travel on May 24-27 include the following:

  • Highway 10 lane closures between Moorhead and Detroit Lakes.
  • Highway 15 lane shift to bypass lanes at County Road 120 in St. Cloud.
  • Interstate 694/Highway 10 interchange reconstruction in Arden Hills.
  • I-35E/I-35W split —pavement, bridge and guardrail construction in Burnsville.
  • Highway 95 closure between County Road 9 and County Road 11 near Taylors Falls.
  • I-35 lane closures from Esko to Duluth.
  • Highway 61/London Road closure at Lester River in Duluth
  • I-535 Blatnik Bridge lane closures from Duluth to Superior.

However, motorists travelling Interstate 94 between Clearwater and St. Cloud for the holiday will find all lanes and ramps open throughout the extended Memorial Day weekend.

All lanes and ramps were opened at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 23 and will remain open through 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 28.

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the deadliest on Minnesota roads during the spring and summer months. Safe driving during the long weekend ranks as a paramount concern for the departments of Transportation and Public Safety and law enforcement agencies statewide.

In 2012, there were 1,931 total crashes in Minnesota work zones — three individuals were killed.

The 3-year average (2010-12) for work zone crashes is 1,819 crashes and seven fatalities per year.

MnDOT reminds motorists to follow these guidelines when entering and driving through work zones:

  • Stay alert, especially at night.
  • Obey posted speed limits. Fines may double for violations in work zones.
  • Expect work zones to constantly change. Day to day, you could experience lane shifts, closures or moving workers and vehicles.
  • Never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.
  • Don’t make unnecessary lane changes.
  • Stay off cell phones and mobile devices.
  • Be patient. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Move over one lane, if possible, or reduce speed for stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles, including ambulance, fire, law enforcement or maintenance and construction vehicles.