Construction Begins for New Roundabout

The major goal is to cut down traffic incidents but some locals remain concerned.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Big changes are now underway at the intersection of I-35 and Highway 33 in Cloquet, an intersection that has seen many serious car accidents and fatalities in recent years.

Construction of a roundabout to replace the intersection began on Monday.  The major goal is to cut down traffic incidents but some locals remain concerned. Studies show roundabouts decrease traffic incidents by 75% and fatalities by 90%. But this will be the first roundabout in Cloquet.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says when finished the roundabout will improve safety and mobility.

“I don’t think it will be too bad but it may at first be a little confusing for some people,” local resident Carol Smith said.

With a handful of serious car accidents and some fatalities in the past, the intersection has become known as dangerous. But not everyone agrees the new roundabout is the solution.

“I think it’s a waste of money,” local resident Craig Stevens said.

The project will cost nearly 2 point 3 million dollars, which one business owner believes is just funding the creation of another road hazard.

“It’s just going to confuse people around here,” Stevens said.

Meanwhile, others are looking forward to the change.

“I think people are going to be a little nervous about it at first because it does look a little confusing but I’ve driven through them before,” Smith said.

Although roundabouts can be confusing at first glance, signs will be in place to help drivers go the right direction.

“It’s going to be good for the city and also tourism,” Smith said.

Some worry when tourism picks up potential confusion from the new traffic route will cause a backup. While the roundabout is being built Highway 33 will have northbound and southbound shoulder closures. The project is expected to be complete by October 2018.

Categories: News, News – Latest News, Road Construction/Traffic