Highway 14 closures underway

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(ABC 6 News) – Those regularly driving along Highway 14 may need to plan for a couple of extra minutes to commute.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is emphasizing that those few extra minutes could help save lives as the county tries to put a stop to the 10 to 13 crashes that happen at the intersection every year.

MnDOT is trying to make the intersection safer by getting rid of these medians, they are also saying they need the community to work together to reduce traffic deaths.

“It’s just a momentary mistake, and that’s what could cause a loss of life,” said Mike Dougherty, with district 6 of the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

“It was unsafe. If you weren’t paying attention either you weren’t getting across or…it caused a lot of problems,” said Mike Schmitz, the general manager at Leashes and Leads.

Leashes and Leads is right off of Highway 14 and County Road 44. Schmitz has a bird’s eye view of the intersection and says he’s seen his fair share of crashes there.

“And that’s kind of where I weigh things back and forth. Obviously, you always want safety first — and it wasn’t safe,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz says he’s hopeful that the construction will not impact their business.

“It’s going to send traffic in the other direction, but I’d like to believe it’s not going to impact our business. The route isn’t that much longer. It doesn’t take that much more time.”

MnDOT is taking away the ability to cross through the Highway by tearing up the pavement in the median and turning it into a ditch with barricades. They’ll do this at County Road 44 and 7th St Northwest. Workers are expecting the construction to last about two weeks.

MnDOT says this could add an extra five to six minutes to drivers’ commute.