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More-visible traffic lights to be installed at Minnesota intersections this summer

June 07, 2019 11:16 PM

Drivers will soon notice a small difference at dozens of Minnesota intersections, but MnDOT hopes it has a big impact in making the roads safer.

The goal is to make traffic lights more visible, and dozens of signals at intersections across the state will have a bright, yellow border.

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"When you see that yellow tape, your eyes are drawn there, you're looking where you're supposed to be looking," said Derek Leuer, MnDOT project manager.  

"It showed us the nighttime there would be bigger reductions, daytime it might not be as drastic," Leuer said. 

Leuer says the fluorescent tape will mainly go at intersections with a higher crash history, and ones that might catch you by surprise. 

"Maybe you've been driving for awhile and you haven't seen some for awhile, so the idea was to maybe enhance that one, make it pop out a little bit more," Leuer said.  

RELATED: MnDOT to add fluorescent yellow tape to traffic lights in south-central Minnesota

You may have already seen something similar on county or city roads like the one on Valley Creek Road in Woodbury. 

"It's a big intersection so I guess it's good to have the yellow borders," said Julia Clark, who lives in Woodbury. 

Numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation show this simple tool reduces crashes by 15 percent.

"I think anything you can do to make it stand out a little more is good," Clark said. 

This is funded through state bonds but installing these isn't cheap. MnDOT says it's up to $3,000 per signal mainly because of the cost to shut the road down. 

That's why they won't be all over the place. But, MnDOT says once work is done this summer, they'll take a few years to evaluate how effective they are and then possibly add more.

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Brett Hoffland

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