FOLEY -- It's been almost a year since several law enforcement agencies partnered to make traveling on Highway 23 a safer stretch for motorists.

The Highway 23 Crash Reduction project between Foley and Milaca came about after two fatal accidents and several serious accidents happened on that particular stretch of Highway.

Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck says all categories of injury crashes were significantly reduced, as were total number of crashes on the road. There was also no fatal or serious injury accidents for all of 2017.

In 2016 (between February 24th to December 31st) the road in question has 37 total accidents, 17 injury crashes, and 3 fatalities. This past year (between February 24th to December 31st) that same section of road had 30 total accidents, 10 injury crashes and 0 fatalities.

The Towards Zero Deaths Coalition, Minnesota State Patrol, Benton County Sheriff's Office, Mille Lacs County Sheriff's Office, Foley Police Department and Milaca Police Department were all involved in the project.

Heck says he is proud of the way the five agencies worked together to make this project successful.

"The efforts of these law enforcement agencies and the public has undoubtedly saved lives. We look forward to continuing to work to make our roads a safer place."

Throughout the year law enforcement combined to clock 554 hours of added patrol time resulting in over 1,000 traffic stops.