Wendy Reuer, Published July 23 2013
Cable median barrier to be installed east of Moorhead on I-94MOORHEAD – Seven miles of cable median barrier will be installed east of here on Interstate 94 between the Red River and the Buffalo River.
Construction on the median will begin today and is expected to take about a month to complete.
While lanes will be closed on both eastbound and westbound I-94, crews will not work on the westbound lanes from 6 to 9 a.m. or the eastbound lanes from 3 to 6 p.m. to limit the impact on rush-hour traffic, said Jeremiah Moerke, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.
Moerke said Moorhead is one of three areas where the cable barriers will be installed on I-94 this summer. Construction is slated to begin next month on 14 miles of the cable barrier near Fergus Falls. Ten miles of the cable barrier was installed near Alexandria between mile marker 96 and 106 earlier this year. Construction is nearly complete, Moerke said.
The median guardrails have proven to stop vehicles from crossing interstate lanes and slamming into oncoming traffic.
A petition calling for installation of the barriers near Alexandria was circulated earlier this year by friends of four North Dakota State University Students who were killed in that area on Jan. 20, 2012.
Megan Sample, 18, of Rogers; Jordan Playle, 19, of Elk River; Lauren Peterson, 18, of Prior Lake; and Dannielle Renninger, 18, of Excelsior, were killed when their westbound car crossed the median and was struck broadside by an eastbound SUV.
MnDOT District 4 Traffic Engineer Tom Swenson said his team had already begun the design phases of the guardrail project when the petition began, but he said earlier this year that the accident reinforced the urgency of the project.
Engineers consider many factors when deciding where to install guardrails, including how many interchanges are in the area, traffic volume and the design of the road, Moerke said.
“The traffic volume is very high in the Moorhead area and there are several interchanges close to each other,” he said.
Turnaround spots for emergency vehicles will be placed throughout the area of the cable median barriers.
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530