MnDOT conducts road safety audit of 30-mile stretch of Highway 7

A small memorial sits along Highway 7 where 15-year-old Daunte Moore was punched and killed four years ago. He is one of 11 people who have died on the freeway since 2016. Now the MnDOT is conducting a traffic safety audit on the roadway. (FOX 9)

You can still find a small memorial on Highway 7 and Texas Avenue in St. Louis Park where 15-year-old Daunte Moore was struck and killed while crossing the intersection nearly four years ago.

His death shone a light on traffic safety and this summer. Calls for improvements intensified when another crash claimed the life of a 20-year-old motorcyclist 13 miles down the road in Shorewood.

“This hallway is used by most residents of my community on a weekly, if not daily, even multiple times a day…they need to access points that are inherently unsafe the way they are currently set up,” said the mayor of Shorewood, Jennifer Labadie. .

Labadie says residents in his town and elsewhere have voiced fears about near misses for years.

These concerns prompted the Minnesota Department of Transportation to launch a traffic safety audit, taking a close look at the short- and long-term safety measures needed from St. Louis Park to Hollywood Township in Carver County.

The area presents unique traffic challenges.

“There are just a lot of hotspots and a lot of those hotspots are kind of risk areas for people to make bad decisions and end up in an accident,” said Derek Leuer, engineer in MnDOT traffic safety.

Part of the audit will be looking at the sites of 11 fatal crashes that occurred between 2016 and 2021. They will also consider feedback left on an interactive map where people can mark specific areas where they have problems.

“I implore anyone using Highway 7 who has ever felt unsafe to go to the interactive MnDOT map and record your comments,” Labadie said.

“We’re going to compile all this public data, all this crash data, traffic data, all this recommendations,” Leuer said. From there, MnDOT will make safety recommendations, which could include everything from additional lighting, rumble strips, crosswalks, roundabouts, or new turning lanes.

Daunte Moore’s family tell FOX 9 they would like to see lower speed limits and a pedestrian bridge in the area where he was killed. Labadie would like to see roundabouts built in his city.

The public comment period on the project will be open until Monday.

The MnDOT’s final report is expected to be completed this spring.

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