Reporting Rachel Slavik
ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Labor Day weekend is already proving to be deadly on Minnesota roadways.
On Saturday night, an elderly couple died after they were hit by two vehicles. The two pedestrians were trying to cross Highway 10 and Sunfish Lake Boulevard in Ramsey.
Authorities say they were trying to cross against a light when they were hit. The mayor says their accident highlights the safety issues with Highway 10.
At the busy intersection of Highway 10 and Sunfish Lake Boulevard, the Sunday traffic speeds by at 60 miles per hour.
Saturday’s deadly accident is an outcome that is becoming all too common on this particular section of roadway. In the last four months, four people have lost their lives.
“The whole Highway 10 corridor has been a problem for many years,” said Ramsey mayor, Bob Ramsey.
Every day, 47,000 vehicles travel on Hwy 10 at near-freeway speeds. Those drivers come across pedestrians and crossing traffic with just a stoplight to prevent an accident.
“The likelihood of accidents happening with that amount of traffic is just going to happen,” said Ramsey.
For Ramsey, the solution is a complete overhaul of the Highway 10 intersections. He wants to see overpasses to separate intersecting traffic.
“This accident wouldn’t have happened if the pedestrians would be walking over the bridge and not in conflict with the car,” said Ramsey.
The effort hasn’t had much traction in the last 10 years. It’s estimated it would cost $300 million to finish road improvements from Ramsey to Anoka — and the funding isn’t there.
“It’s definitely, I think, not safe for pedestrians at this point,” said T.J. Burns who lives in Ramsey. “I’m not a professional, but that’s my opinion.
But with another deadly accident, some are left to wonder if the most recent will be a driving force for change.
The two victims have been identified as 78-year-old John Nettlefield and 70-year-old Jean Nettlefield of Texas. State Patrol officers say they were traveling through Minnesota after visiting family in Canada.