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High-Tech Signs On Highway 52 Aim To Stop Crashes

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GOODHUE COUNTY, Minn. (WCCO) – Two people were killed when three cars crashed in Goodhue County on Saturday night. The crash happened at the intersection with high-tech signs that the Minnesota Department of Transportation is testing.

Highway 52 between Rochester and the Twin Cities handles a lot of traffic at 65 miles an hour.

“Highway 52 is one of our highest traveled roads, so we pay a lot of attention to it and do as many improvements as our budget will allow,” said MnDOT spokesperson Kristine Hernandez.

But unlike a freeway, Highway 52 has a number of intersections. The one at Goodhue County Road 9 has a system that uses video cameras and sensors to detect traffic, and passes the information to lighted signs.

“Basically, it’s assisting motorists in identifying appropriate gaps and it’s not telling them when to go, but when not to go,” Hernandez said.

The signs are a joint project between MnDOT and the University of Minnesota. Since Jan. 2010, MnDOT said the rate of accidents has improved at the intersection, perhaps because of the new signs.

Before 2010, this intersection had a bad reputation.

“It was actually chosen because of the high crash rate there. It’s higher than a normal rural intersection,” Hernandez said.

Back in 2010, a crash analysis of the Highway 52/Goodhue County Road 9 intersection showed a 10-year crash history of 65 crashes, with seven involving fatalities.

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