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Highway 14 is Even More Deadly than Thought

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I have written about this road before:

Highway 14 Really Needs to be Looked At!, Mike Bryant | September 09, 2011 9:55 AM

MNDOT Needs To Look At Most Deadly Section Of Highway 14, Mike Bryant | October 04, 2009 9:33 AM

I'm not sure how many warnings it is going to take. The Mankato Free Press reported this past week:

a 2010 Free Press examination of accident statistics found that the two-lane segment from North Mankato to New Ulm had a fatal crash rate nearly double the rate for rural two-lane highways statewide.

Several additional deaths have occurred since then, driving the crash rate on that segment of highway to three times higher than comparable two-lane highways around Minnesota.

“This is starting to suggest that there’s something different going on on Highway 14,” said Howard Preston, a private consultant who led the team that did the safety audit for MnDOT.

A broader look — adding crashes that included serious but not fatal injuries — showed a crash rate 50 percent higher than average.

One of the factors that makes Highway 14 different, Preston said, is the number of crashes where a vehicle crosses the center line and collides with an oncoming vehicle. Of severe crashes, 70 percent are head-on or a sideswipe with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction — triple the 23 percent rate for typical Minnesota two-lanes.

The highway also carries more heavy truck traffic — nearly one of every eight vehicles. That percentage is 50 percent above the norm.

This information should be especially troubling for anyone who drives that area of the state. As always, the issue is money. However, it seems with these numbers, action needs to be taken quickly.