Road Naming Methodology

What is Enhanced 911?

Enhanced 911 (E-911) is a system that selectively routes 911 calls to the local dispatch center.

What are the benefits of using E-911?

Valuable minutes in the initial time period when reaching the appropriate emergency agency can mean life or death.

The Otter Tail County Enhanced 911 addressing system was created to save lives during emergencies. This addressing system also meets all postal requirements of the U.S. Postal Service. The E-911 addresses were adopted county wide as the postal mailing addresses.

Why didn’t the county use only numbers for roads?

Due to the large number of lakes and other geographically unique qualities of Otter Tail County, a system of totally numbered roads would not work, nor was a total named system possible. It was the goal of the numerous addressing committees that this system would first and foremost be capable of delivering lifesaving emergency services. Law enforcement, ambulance, fire, rescue, townships and the U.S. Post Office were among the agencies that assisted in the design of this system.

How were the roads named?

Otter Tail County Road Name SignNo two roads have the same name, (with the exception of municipalities) but the use of suffixes allow for the repeated use of a particular name in an area. Those suffixes included road, drive, trail, lane, loop, circle, point, etc. When travel patterns could be determined, the main road was named either a “road” or a “drive”. An access off the main roads was given a different road suffix, but the same road name. Roads off the secondary accesses were given yet another suffix but the same road name etc.

Thus, a traveler looking for Bluebird Circle might first travel along Bluebird Road, Bluebird Lane and Bluebird Loop before arriving at an address on Bluebird Circle.

E-911 addresses, specifically the road names, were broken down into three categories.

Level 1

Roads are state, county or federal roads, and they retain their current designations (for example, Co Hwy 1 or State Hwy 210).

Level 2

The e911 layout in Otter Tail County, MNRoads typically run north-south or east-west along section, quarter-section or 1/16 section lines. Essentially they follow a straight path along the four points of the compass.

These roads have been numbered, with the north-south roads designated as avenues and the east-west roads designated as streets.

The most westerly north-south road in Otter Tail County started with number 100, with numbers increasing at a rate of 10 per mile as you travel north from the county line and east from the county line. For example, 295th street is 6 1/2 miles north of 230th street.

Level 3

Level three are the remaining roads. These road names were suggested by townships or by a special Road Naming Committee based on local knowledge.

Why is my neighbors number so much higher (or lower) than mine?

To complete the addressing for emergency services, house numbers were designed. Because of the many lakes and small lake lots in the county, it was necessary to have 1,000 addresses per mile (500 on each side of the road). The house numbers directly correspond to the grid from which the Level 2 roads are numbered: Streets and avenues start at the west and south county line at Number 100. House numbers start in the same location at House Number 10,000.

e911 Blue Structure Address Sign  Odd number addresses are on the north and west sides of roads, and even numbers are on the south and east sides of roads. An address of 36055 163rd St. would be 6.3 miles north of the county line and between 360th and 370th avenues.

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