Lowry Hill Tunnel crashes spark safety concerns

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 6, 2013 - 6:53 AM

MnDOT is discussing how best to improve safety for the 153,000 motorists who pass through the tunnel each day.

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reader2580May. 5, 13 8:42 PM

Big trucks need to be driven at the posted advisory speed for a curve. I have a large motorhome and if I drive it at speeds above the posted advisory speed on a curve I will feel like I am losing control.

kieronMay. 5, 13 8:55 PM

Nobody observes the posted speed limit, which is 35 mph, until forced to slow down due to congestion. Even the State Patrol is guilty in this.

mattaudioMay. 5, 13 9:00 PM

Tunneling technology has improved significantly since this tunnel was built two generations ago. Still extremely expensive, but this is the heart of our city. How about a deep bore tunnel starting behind the convention center and ending behind the Basilica. Most of the portals could be built on existing public or non-developed property. Maybe the existing cut and cover tunnel can be cut back about 300' on the south end (the curve) and repurposed to carry Hennepin/Lyndale thru-traffic under the existing surface street bottleneck (which was once called the Virginia Triangle). Then, we can reclaim the non-tunnel ROW of the existing 94 dogleg and reconnect our urban neighborhoods. The existing open trench from Lyndale to 1st Ave S would be opened up for development (although we could preserve the trench for grade-separated transit between Uptown and Downtown). Then the viaduct between the existing tunnel's north portal and 394 can be calmed to provide a stronger connection between Uptown, Downtown, and the future Basset Creek valley which will likely develop after Southwest LRT is built. Wins for everyone... freeway drivers, local drivers, transit users, developers, existing residents, and city tax base.

alanam8May. 5, 13 9:03 PM

I think one of the biggest risk factors in that curve is the 394 exit that comes right after it. Lots of lane changing before people go into the tunnel, and I suspect that's been a cause of some of the accidents. Getting folks to slow down would be great, even better would be finding some way to put a brake on the lane changes. Not sure how you do it, though, except through greater enforcement efforts. No way that tunnel is going to be rebuilt (or should be rebuilt) with what's above it.

JJoker13May. 5, 13 9:22 PM

Banning the trucks would not "transfer the problem to city streets". No one drives 60 miles an hour on city streets. You also would not have semis rolling over on sharp curves on city streets because city streets do not have sharp curves.

supervon2May. 5, 13 9:26 PM

Here is the mistake. The DOT had purchased right-of-way through northeast Minneapolis and highway 35 would have extended directly to 94 westbound. But, But, a group of community activists convinced the DOT that the city didn't need that capacity and had them run all the traffic south of downtown. And that's how we got the mess we have now. Thanks, community activists.

vikingrob2May. 5, 13 9:38 PM

I would think raising the median barrier to be a fortified barrier about 12 feet tall or so from the south portal to somewhere between the Groveland and LaSalle overpasses would curb the incursions into the eastbound lanes, and perhaps reducing the posted speed limit and installing rumble strips would be appropriate here, too.

boozlesMay. 5, 13 9:44 PM

People also cross the solid white lines and make illegal lane changes further endangering peoples lives in that tunnel. I am afraid to drive in that area because people drive too fast and don't obey (or understand) the solid white line law.

boozlesMay. 5, 13 9:47 PM

Drivers need to understand that a solid white line means NO lane changes. They should ticket drivers who break the law and change lanes all over that tunnel. Or maybe they should physically post a sign saying "No Lane Changing on solid white line"

WiseupMay. 5, 13 9:50 PM

How about better drivers and more highway patrol. There are more unatentive drivers on the road now that ever before ,more drivers period. We better and severe penilties for texting and cell phone use .If you think you can multi task while driving you already should not be on the road ,you endanger everyone around you. Heck I'd rather face drunk drivers at least they try to pay attention.We also do not need truckers on cells I have seen it many times.If caught the drives looses his class a nationwide .


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