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Through the last year, as St. Cloud drivers travel to and from the Twin Cities, the increased use of cable barriers between the north and south bound lanes has been evident. MnDot has committed to their use in an effort to reduce the number of semi cross overs and to save more lives.

Starting Monday, about 17 miles from Stearns County Road 238 to the junction of Minnesota Highway 15 will see the change. There has been some debate about the cost and the effectiveness of these changes. Studies that have been done in other states suggest that they do have a positive affect.

The State of Washington recently found that with cable barriers:

  • Crossover median collisions decreased 74 percent after cable median barrier was installed, from about 42 per year to about 11 per year.
  • Disabling and deadly median collisions dropped 71 percent, from about 18 per year to about 5 per year.
  • There have been no fatal cross-median collisions since cable median barrier was installed, with the exception of I-5 in Marysville, where four fatal cross-median collisions have occurred.

The US Department of Transportation surveyed other states and found:

  • Between 1990 and 1999, only 2.4 percent of all interstate crashes in Iowa were cross median crashes, yet these crashes resulted in 32.7 percent of all interstate fatalities.
  • From 1999 to 2000, more than 70 people in South Carolina lost their lives in 57 separate interstate crossover median crashes.
  • North Carolina DOT has found cross-median crashes to be three times more deadly than other freeway crashes. Cross-median barriers are expected to lead to an estimated 90 percent reduction in these types of collisions.

After reviewing all of the studies the USDOT provided the following recommendations to all states:

  • Cable median barriers are an effective means of reducing fatal crossover crashes.
  • Sufficient cost efficiencies can be achieved through the introduction of higher-tension cable systems.
  • Financial resources can be saved if crews at State DOTs develop the skills to rapidly repair cable median barriers.

Minnesota was one of the states that decided the time was right to add these barriers to I-94. During the time the work is being done, all drivers are reminded to watch out and slow down through the construction zone. Fines are doubled in those areas and there are usually workers out in the road.

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