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MnDOT reprograms traffic lights on main busy Bemidji street

Cars pass through the Bemidji Avenue North and 10th Street Northwest intersection Tuesday afternoon. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has reprogrammed traffic lights on Bemidji Avenue for smoother travel. John Hageman | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Drivers may have noticed smoother traffic on State Highway 197 going through Bemidji recently.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has reprogrammed the traffic system along Bemidji Avenue/State Highway 197 for greater coordination between individual traffic lights.

"So, that means that someone traveling along Bemidji Avenue is more likely to receive greens along their route, especially during peak times in the morning and afternoon, which keeps the mainline traffic moving as efficiently as possible," MnDOT public affairs coordinator TJ Melcher wrote in an email.

But that also means cross streets will see a slight increase in waiting times.

Melcher said one advantage to the change is accommodating the higher number of vehicles on Bemidji Avenue. He said it should also improve safety.

"Because, if you can keep traffic on the main line moving, motorists are less likely to take short-cuts on side streets, which are smaller and typically travel through neighborhoods," he wrote.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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