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Lane closures on Highway 197 in Bemidji begins June 6

Pedestrian improvement project includes the addition of a crosswalk near Bemidji State University


BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 197/Bemidji Avenue in Bemidji will experience lane closures near Bemidji State University beginning June 6 as crews construct a pedestrian crosswalk system.

The safety improvement project also includes a temporary closure of the westbound lane of 15th Street at the intersection with Bemidji Avenue which will last up to three days.

Crews will replace the sidewalk between 15th Street and 18th Street, and construct a crosswalk between 16th Street and 17th Street. The crosswalk includes a user-activated flashing beacon, along with the construction of a concrete center island.

The Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon is a lower cost signal alternative that uses an irregular flash pattern that is similar to emergency flashers on police vehicles. “They enhance pedestrian safety at mid-block crossings,” said MnDOT project manager Troy Strassburg.

“A study sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration found that they result in a dramatic increase in drivers yielding to pedestrians than with traditional overhead lights.”

Reierson Construction Inc. is the contractor for the $230,000 project, which is expected to last through the month of June, weather permitting.

MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones: stay alert; watch for signs, equipment and workers; minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking; avoid tailgating; follow posted speed limits and directional signs; and stay in one lane while driving through the work zone.

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