As recently as early 1975, 71st Street and Memorial Drive was a two-lane intersection in the middle of the countryside with a cable-strung traffic signal. There was a Champlin station on the southeast corner and an abandoned green building on the southwest corner. Farms were located on the northern corners. A short time later, a large sign appeared on the northeast corner advertising that Woodland Hills Mall would be opening in 1976, and things began to change. Other businesses soon arrived on the scene, and the intersection went from being rural to very urban. The intersection was the southern end of the Memorial Drive widening project between 41st and 71st streets that was completed in 1976. The intersection is four lanes on each approach with express right-turn lanes each direction. There also are dual left-turn lanes for southbound and eastbound traffic and single left-turn lanes for the other two directions. The project also included widening 71st Street to four lanes between Memorial Drive and 90th East Avenue as well as adding a third westbound lane to accommodate mall traffic. The extra lane becomes the westbound right-turn lane at Memorial Drive. Until the green-arrow conversion of 1979, the solid green lights were straight green arrows. With the exception of Memorial Drive to the north, the approaching streets are two lanes. That soon will change, as work is beginning on a project to widen Memorial Drive to four lanes from 71st to 91st streets. This project will be completed in 1984. Photo taken July 1982.
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