Why Do Semis Keep Tipping at the Woodbury Cloverleaf?

MnDOT has studied the issue and considered reconstructing the Interstate 94-Interstate 694 interchange.

It happened again Sunday.

A semi truck overturned on the cloverleaf from Interstate 694 to eastbound Interstate 94 in Woodbury.

“Semis have been tipping over at that cloverleaf for years,” said Lt. Eric Roeske with the State Patrol.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has also taken note of the frequency of and conducted studies of that cloverleaf, said Chad Erickson, a traffic specialist with MnDOT.

“It’s that southbound loop that we have an issue with,” he said.

While Erickson said the Woodbury cloverleaf isn’t the most used design, he attributed the problem more to the volume of traffic in that area and how trucks enter the ramp.

“There’s a whole host of factors involved with (semis tipping),” he said. “It’s something we’re aware of.”

MnDOT has looked at the possibility of reconstructing that interchange, Erickson said, or simply posting information that warns truckers of the danger of tipping.

What usually happens is that a semi is traveling too fast and its load may shift, causing the truck to topple over, Lt. Roeske said. Passenger vehicles typically slide off the road rather than tipping, he said.

There were no injuries in Sunday’s incident, which happened a little after 3 p.m. The truck was transporting apples.

Roeske wouldn’t say that it’s more of a problem at the Woodbury interchange than others, considering it’s downhill and a more heavily travelled location.

Still, “It’s a fairly common occurrence,” he said.


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Kris Janisch May 17, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Just added a screen shot of some Facebook chatter about this. I'll see if the police report from Sunday's incident can add anything too.
Brian Buche May 17, 2012 at 08:11 PM
wonder what it would take for them to make a change? A fatality, a major injury? Pretty serious issue and happens too often
Kris Janisch May 17, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Yeah, I wonder if this is something that could get into a future bonding bill for funding.
Natasha Fleischman May 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I moved to the area 10 years ago. For a very long time, if I was heading east on 94 and needed to go north on 694 (to Lake Elmo), I would skip that interchange completely for fear of a semi tipping over on me. I'd then exit at Radio Dr and take Inwood home. I'm past that now, but every time I see a semi there, I slow up so that I am well out of the way!
Kris Janisch May 17, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Wow, scary Natasha. Ever since I've been covering Woodbury and this starting happening, I keep an eye on that cloverleaf whenever I drive by. It's easy to see how it could happen.
wwms May 17, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I agree with the last comment in the facebook stream, to many entrances and exits from a single lane. To go home we need to get off at Tamarack heading south on 694/494, and it's just a nightmare. You can't get over if you're in the left lane, and if you are in the right lane, your chance of being plowed down by a semi entering or exiting is high. I'd love to see a redesign. I'd even be willing to live through the inconvenience.
Kris Janisch May 17, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I know cloverleafs are a great use of space, so I wonder what other options might be able to go in there.
SomeGuy May 18, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Minnesota has some of the more "unique" freeway designs I have driven on. Certainly not designed with safety or smooth flow of traffic foremost in mind, IMO.
PauliNtheWood May 19, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I'm sure Michele Bachmann will find a way to blame President Obama for this.
Kris Janisch May 20, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Not bad Paul, did she try that with the new bridge?
Jim May 22, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Obvious MnDOT could make a couple of inexpensive changes to reduce the rollovers. 1) Install a WARNING SIGN prior to the ramp directed at 18 wheelers. "Ramp To I94 Eastbound Has Been Known To Cause Rollovers". 2) Increase the banking of the ramp so trucks are less likely to roll over. Both of these changes would cost far less than the damage caused by one of these "frequent" rollovers. Of course the obvious REAL solution is to upgrade I694 from I94 in Oakdale to I35W in New Brighten (or whereever it is) to freeway status from where it is now as a goat trail designed in 1965. This "highway" is a glaring example of why Twin Cities highways are rated POOR by national standards.


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