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Work zone changes made, investigation underway after I-94 fatal crash in Moorhead

MnDOT leaders offer sympathies to the family and friends of three Minnesota residents who died in a Friday crash on Interstate 94 in Moorhead.

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Emergency responders and investigators respond to a crash on I-94 in Moorhead Friday afternoon, July 15.
Steve Elwell / WDAY
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MOORHEAD — After a fatal accident that killed three and another resulting in serious injuries on Interstate 94 in and near Moorhead late last week, a work zone change, as well as an investigation are underway.

Minnesota Department of Transportation District Highway Engineer Shiloh Wahl said Monday, July 18, that due to recent accidents, a previously closed lane has been reopened, along with the installation of Jersey barriers along the median to protect workers.

Lane closures will continue in the eastbound lanes, however, until the guard rail replacement is completed either later this week or early next week, Wahl said, noting crews need access for construction.

The project will move to the Minnesota Highway 336 intersection next week, he added. Crews will also be working on concrete slab repairs on the 2.25 mile stretch of road in the coming weeks to prolong the life of the road.

Wahl said signs are visible about five miles out on the interstate, warning of construction ahead, with more signs to come.

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In response to a question, Wahl said they are allowed to place construction warning signs across the border in North Dakota when projects are underway.

Wahl and MnDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger said their agency is joining with the Minnesota State Patrol in conducting a "thorough review" of the work zone situation and the accident.

"It's already began," Daubenberger told a crowd of Moorhead residents who were gathered for a ceremony marking the opening of the Main Avenue and 20th Street underpass, which officially opens this Friday, July 22.

The commissioner said safety is their top priority as she told the crowd to pause for a moment, expressing sympathies to the friends and family of the three people who died after their vehicle was crushed between two semi trucks last Friday, July 15.

The other notable accident was last Thursday, July 14, when five people were injured, one seriously, in a four-vehicle crash just east of Moorhead.

The guard rails are out of date and don't meet new design standards, Wahl said, with replacements in the works to prevent motorists from directly hitting bridge piers at overpasses and intersections.

The project started about a week ago.

Wahl said Sate Patrol officers often spend extra time near construction zones to ease traffic, but was unaware if there was a police presence in the Moorhead work zone last week.

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