I-35 alternate route signs placed to aid emergency responses

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, July 22, 2018

Interstate 35 motorists from the Iowa border to the Elko/New Market exit near the Twin Cities will see new alternate route signs on pre-planned detour routes for emergencies or incidents that require the temporary closure of the highway, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The yellow signs that state “ALTERNATE” are placed above the I-35 signs. They were recently placed on pre-determined detour routes off of I-35 as part of a program to assist the Minnesota State Patrol and other law enforcement in routing traffic off the highway when an incident or crash requires the closure of the highway for a period of time. Signs are on routes adjacent to I-35 in Worth County, Iowa, and Freeborn, Steele, Rice and Scott counties in Minnesota, as well as the Minnesota cities of Glenville, Geneva, Owatonna and Faribault.

“We work with the communities, counties and county sheriffs to pre-plan the routes to aid in the incident response and management,” said Adam Wellner, MnDOT District 6 traffic design engineer. “With the alternate routes marked, law enforcement can use their people to focus on the incident, which can often resolve the closure quicker.”

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The signs are not construction detour routes or related to any construction on I-35.

A MnDOT study in 2015 on Interstate 94 found that effective alternate routing diverts traffic onto efficient, well-signed routes that avoid areas susceptible to traffic snarls and secondary traffic from events, school zones and scheduled gatherings. First responders are free to respond to the incident, and secondary crashes on local roads are reduced. Response times and incident duration are shortened with an overall improvement in road user experience, the report said.

MnDOT urges motorists to always be attentive, drive with caution, slow down in work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app.