Historic U.S. 61: Curve at the Junction with Highways 50 and 20
Curve at the Junction with Highways 50 and 20
Located In: Douglas Township, Dakota County.
Length: 0.19 miles
Also Marked As:
The remains of a curve U.S. 61 once used to make the right-angle turn at the junction with State Highways 50 and 20 are still visible from the modern highway.
The old curve at the junction was constructed in 1930, and paved with 20 feet of concrete in 1931 as part of the project to construct the first modern highway between Hastings and Red Wing. The curve was the Department of Highway's solution for keeping through-traffic on U.S. 61 flowing continuously through what would have otherwise been a right-angle turn at a four-way intersection. The construction also included two paved connections to State Highway 20, one oriented northeast to southwest, and another straight east and west (the east-west connection eventually became part of State Highway 50, and later U.S. 61 itself). The original pavement on the curve remained in use for 37 years until it was paved over with a layer of asphalt in 1968.
The curve remained in use until 1984, when all of the roads and connections in the vicinity were reconstructed, most likely to bring the junction up to modern safety standards. The curve was closed, and traffic on U.S. 61 was rerouted onto a right-angle turn. The pavement on the curve was removed, but the grade was left intact (Plans show that U.S. 61 was detoured onto the old Highway 20 connection for a short time after the curve was closed).
The curve is still easily visible today on the north side of U.S. 61, just east of the junction with Highway 50.
The historic location of the junctions with State Highways 20 and 50 were at each end of the old curve, with Highway 50 on the southeast end, and Highway 20 on the north end. Highway 50 had been extended east to U.S. 61 from Hampton in 1949.
Since the reconstruction, Highway 20 no longer technically has a junction with U.S. 61. However, signage still indicates it via a short connection via Highway 50.
Photo Tour - Photos from various dates.
Looking west on the northbound side of U.S. 61, just before the junction with Highway 50. The grade of U.S. 61's old curve towards Hastings is visible on the right. Modern U.S. 61 runs across the center of the photo. Highway 50 can be seen ascending the hill towards Hampton on the far left. Photo from October, 2005.
Signage along modern U.S.61, at the southeast end of the old curve. Note now the sign says "TO" Highway 20, indicating the short connection via Highway 50. This was the approximate site of the original junction with Highway 50 from 1949 until 1984. It also marked the beginning of a paved connection to Highway 20 for traffic on U.S. 61 northbound.
Looking north on Highway 20's old connection to U.S. 61 from the modern junction of Highways 20 and 50. Photo from October, 2005. This connection would also have been used as a connection to Highway 50 from U.S. 61 southbound.
Looking north at the dead-end on old Highway 20 towards the site of the former junction with U.S. Highway 61. Photo from July, 2006.