Hwy. 23 J-turn construction complete

Marshall Independent / Deb Gau on August 8, 2019

MARSHALL — Traffic on Highway 23 in Marshall went back to normal this week, after construction of a reduced-conflict intersection wrapped up on Tuesday.

The intersection of Highway 23 and Lyon County Road 7 is now open to traffic, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said. the project is the third reduced-conflict intersection built in Marshall. Also known as a “J-turn,” a reduced-conflict intersection is meant to reduce broadside crashes at an intersection. Instead of being able to go straight across Highway 23, motorists will merge into turn lanes and special U-turn lanes instead. The J-turn at County Road 7 was delayed about a week due to wet conditions. The project was originally planned to finish on July 27, said project supervisor Ben Sandoz.

“The saturated soil was the biggest factor,” Sandoz said. The water table in the ground was so high this summer that it affected compaction, he said. During construction, contractors had to excavate about an extra foot deeper, put down a fabric layer to stop moisture from coming up, and then put down dry material, Sandoz said. While traffic was still open on Highway 23 during construction, it was limited to one lane in each direction in the construction zone. Traffic on County Road 7 was also blocked at the intersection, due to both the J-turn project and a Lyon County bridge replacement project on County Road 7. The bridge project was timed to coincide with construction on Highway 23. County Road 7 is now open to traffic, as well.

The reduced-conflict intersection project at Highway 23 and County Road 7 cost $2.1 million, MnDOT said. The first reduced-conflict intersection in Marshall was built at the intersection of Highway 23 and Saratoga Street in 2015. Another, at Highway 23 and Lyon Street, was built earlier this year.

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