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Two sets of lights damaged in Willmar, Minn., as a result of traffic accidents

A stop sign has been placed at the intersection of Willmar Avenue and Lakeland Drive Southeast after the traffic controller was damaged in a recent accident. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR -- The third and fourth weeks in July were bad weeks for Willmar traffic signals after vehicular accidents damaged signals at two city intersections.

A sport-utility vehicle knocked out the control cabinet July 16 at the intersection of Willmar Avenue and Lakeland Drive Southeast. Police Chief David Wyffels said the crash was a case of driving while impaired.

Because the signals cannot be operated until a new control cabinet is installed, a four-way stop sign was placed in the middle of the intersection to control traffic, said Public Works Director Holly Wilson. She said she expects the new control cabinet will be installed within the next two to three weeks by Granite Ledge Electrical of Foreston, which installed the controls and has worked on other city signals.

The cost of the cabinet is estimated at about $20,000 and the labor at $5,000 to $10,000. Wilson described the work as a major repair.

The second incident happened July 24 when a semi-trailer truck hauling steel northbound on First Street turned into the Kandi Mall parking lot and knocked down the corner signal pole.

The remaining signals were still operable and were set for flashing red.

Repairs were completed Thursday morning and the signals returned to normal service. Wilson did not have a cost estimate but said it would be less than repairs at Lakeland Drive and Willmar Avenue.

Wilson said there will be insurance cost to both drivers and the city's insurance will be refunded based on their insurance.

The city of Willmar has jurisdiction over seven sets of traffic signals; other signals are under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, she said.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150