Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 10 - Reduced Conflict Intersection

County Road 60, Otter Tail County

Questions and answers

Why was this project initiated?

The intersection of Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Road 60 has a history of high crash rates marked by serious crashes. Because of this, it is a priority intersection for MnDOT and Otter Tail County.

Location map on Highway 10 and Otter Tail County Highway 60

What is a J-turn and why is it proposed here?

A J-turn, also referred to as a reduced conflict intersection (RCI), converts side street thru-travel and left-turn movements into right turns, followed by a U-turn. This series of movements reduces side street delays. It seems counterproductive, we know, because you're lengthening the route it takes to make a left-turn or thru-movement. But, overall, it reduces the time it takes to safely cross one direction of traffic at a time.

At the Highway 10/County Road 60 intersection, side street left turns and thru-movements are the most common generator of serious crashes.

Why build J-turn?

J-turns have been proven to improve safety by reducing crash potential at intersections. They are built so drivers from the side street only have to be concerned with one direction of traffic on the highway at a time. Drivers always make a right turn, followed by a U-turn.

On a national scale, in locations where an RCI has been constructed, there has been:

  • 50% reduction in injury crashes
  • 70% reduction in fatal crashes
  • 35% reduction in total crashes

To date, RCIs built in Minnesota have resulted in a 100% reduction in fatal crashes at those locations.

Data showing that conventional intersections have thirty-two conflict points. Reduced conflict intersections have fourteen conflict points.

More information on these type of intersections can be found at mndot.gov/roadwork/rci.

What other options were considered?

As part of its comprehensive review of design options for this intersection, MnDOT compared the J-turn design with several other alternatives. Traffic modeling indicated that a J-turn would reduce rear-end crash potential by 45-90% and reduce travel time by 10-23% when compared to traditional concepts like traffic signals and roundabouts.

Traffic signal

Signalization of the intersection was one of the first options considered for this project. Typically, traffic signals are a cost effective way to improve intersection safety. However, due to the rural location of this intersection, MnDOT considered that drivers would not expect to encounter a signal and crashes would likely increase on Highway 10.

Signal prioritization would also have to be given to the railroad, which runs along the north side of Highway 10, across the north leg of County Road 60. This would cause delays on Highway 10 whenever a train comes through the area.

New interchange

Due to traffic counts at this intersection, it would be hard to justify the construction of a new interchange, which would likely run between $10 to $20-plus million to build. There would also be major right-of-way impacts, and the overall planning process would be long and tedious.

Complete closure of intersection

During a study of the intersection, it was recommended that MnDOT District 4 close this intersection completely. Although likely the safest option because it would eliminate any cross-traffic turning movements, we knew that would have significant impacts to the local traffic commuting daily to other parts of the area.

Safety is always our top priority, but transportation plays a key role in the local economy. We knew there were other options that would improve safety, while also maintaining access to County Road 60.

How will this project be paid for?

The project will be funded by federal safety dollars and MnDOT.

When will the project be constructed and what are the impacts?

The project is scheduled to be constructed in the summer of 2024. A detour is not expected. Single-lane closures will likely occur in all directions.

How J-turns work

In a J-turn, drivers always make a right turn, followed by a U-turn. Motorists approaching divided highways from a side street are not allowed to make left turns or cross traffic; instead, they are required to turn right onto the highway and then make a U-turn at a designated median opening. This reduces potential conflict points and increases safety. Generally, the delay caused by a signal is greater than the delay caused by the RCI. Navigate RCIs Illustration, PDF