Six intersections in Grand Forks are among the top 50 most dangerous in the state
And five of those six are on 32nd Avenue South.
GRAND FORKS – Six intersections in Grand Forks are among the 50 most dangerous in North Dakota, according to a 2018-2020 Urban High Crash Locations report made by the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
The report looks at intersections across the state that have the most crashes and the most severe crashes. Intersections in Grand Forks that made the list include:
- 32nd Avenue South and 31st Street, at No. 3 on the list. It had 66 total crashes from 2018-2020, including 20 in 2018, 24 in 2019 and 22 in 2020.
- The corner of Washington and DeMers, at No. 4. It had 79 crashes during the recorded span, including 37 in 2018, 24 in 2019 and 18 in 2020.
- 32nd Avenue South and 34th Street, which ranks 10th. It had 47 crashes, including 16 in 2018, 19 in 2019 and 12 in 2020.
- 32nd Avenue South and Columbia Road, at No. 17. It had 47 crashes, including 19 in 2018, 19 in 2019 and nine in 2020.
- 32nd Avenue South and 20th Street, at No. 18. It had 36 crashes, including 16 in 2018, 14 in 2019 and six in 2020.
- 32nd Avenue South and Washington Street, at No. 35. It had 49 crashes, including 22 in 2018, 14 in 2019 and 13 in 2020.
Although some intersections lower on the list have more crashes than intersections that rank higher, the study takes into account the severity of crashes, as well as injuries.
The most dangerous intersection in North Dakota is in Fargo, at the intersection of 13th Avenue South and 45th Street. There were 76 crashes at that site over the three-year study span.
In Grand Forks, the majority of crashes at intersections along 32nd Avenue South were caused by drivers making left turns. City Traffic Engineer Jane Williams said engineers found the number of crashes was linked to drivers not being able to see clearly when turning left at the intersections.
Last summer, $7 million was put toward realigning left-turn lanes along 32nd Avenue South, among other improvements. When cars are negatively offset at an intersection it means they’re lined up to the right of oncoming traffic, making it hard to see. Modifying the medians and realigning left-turn lanes makes it easier for drivers to see oncoming traffic when making the turn.
Grand Forks Police Lt. Andrew Stein recommends drivers think about safety first when making left turns at intersections and “making sure the intersection is clear before you go.”
And, he said, “32nd has been one of those identified streets that we have had a lot of crashes on.”
This isn’t the first time 32nd Avenue South has made the statewide ranking. In 2016, three intersections on 32nd made the list: The intersection at South 34th Street ranked 13th, the intersection at South 31st Street ranked 39th and the intersection at South Columbia Road ranked 47th.
“There are many variables that can affect the high crash list,” Williams said, as the “crashes fluctuate on streets depending on conditions.”
Variables can include road closures because of construction, which can affect how people use those intersections throughout the year.
Williams said she expects the next crash report to reflect the changes made on 32nd Avenue South, though it may take some time.
“Because of the various safety improvements we made on 32nd Avenue South, it will take years of data to determine the effectiveness of any given measure,” Williams said. “Traffic safety is an ongoing project for the entire city. We are constantly modifying our signal timing, repairing equipment and streets and adding new safety features as they are approved by FHWA.”
And even though it ranked below 32nd Avenue South, the intersection at DeMers and Washington Street is considered one of the “bigger, busier intersections of Grand Forks,” Stein said.
Williams said a review is underway to determine the extent of the work that will be done at the intersection.