The converting of Oak Avenue in Owatonna from a four-lane to a three-lane roadway continued Thursday with street markings added to identify the center left-turn lane. The overall project began in 2019 and included the removal of stoplights at Vine Street and McKinley Street. Pedestrian ramps have been added at those intersections to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

A news release from Steele County says, "The signal at Main Street will be upgraded with a new vehicle detection system and modified for the new lane configurations." A pedestrian signal system is installed at the School Street intersection with Oak. The county reminds walkers, "even with the beacons flashing, that they should be sure vehicles are stopping before moving into the path of the vehicles."

A separate media release says, "The new pedestrian signal system has yellow pedestrian and bicycle warning sings, along with rapid rectangular flashing beacons...Per Minnesota statutes, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway."

The county says, "Reconfiguring the traffic lanes is expected to improve pedestrian safety, reduce crashes and improve traffic flow." Work is also being done to bring the traffic signal at the Hy-Vee Foods entrance up to current ADA standards. That will include audio prompts.

For a full list of current Steele County highway projects, visit their "Construction Projects" page. If you want an even more detailed breakdown of current, recent, and future projects in the 2020-2024 Highway Capital Improvement Plan, click here.