MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota road construction company is stepping in to help improve safety on a west metro highway.
Diamond Surface Inc. will donate time and resources to add rumble strips to Highway 12.
In the last eight months, four people have died on a stretch of Highway 12 near Maple Plain from head-on crashes.
Two of those deaths happened this month, within a week of each other.
Highway 12 has become the main artery connecting the Twin Cities to the growing towns west of the metro. In the Maple Plain area, the two-lane highway sees 20,000 drivers a day — and more traffic creates potential for more accidents.
“It’s these crossover, head-on crashes that are killing people out here,” said Gary Kroells, director of West Hennepin Public Safety.
Two of those deaths happened within the last two weeks. A 55-year-old Delano man died when his truck crossed the center lane in Maple Plain. One week earlier, a 24-year-old woman died when her vehicle crashed in to a UPS truck near Maple Plain.
Andy McDeid of Diamond Surface knew there was a way they could help.
“We all saw it on the news the night before, we went into the office the next morning – and it was a unanimous decision. We knew that we could do something about it, so we decided to do it,” McDeid said. “We volunteered to cut rumble strips in to hopefully avoid any more head-on collisions.”
Rumble strips act as a warning when a driver drifts out of the lane. Once the tires hit the grooves cut out in the pavement, it creates a loud noise and shakes the vehicle.
“There’s been plenty of studies done on plenty of roads,” McDeid said. “It’s proven that they work.”
On Saturday, Diamond Surface will donate time and resources to add the center lane rumble strips to six miles of Highway 12 between Orono and Delano.
“This is just another tool in the tool box to try to make it safer,” Kroells said.
MnDOT planned to add the rumble strips this spring, but the weather and this company coming forward provided the opportunity.
There will be slow downs on that stretch of Highway 12 from about 7 a.m. until mid to late afternoon Saturday.
McDeid says this would typically be a $15,000 project.