Students, staff and parents were greeted to the signature grin of a jack o’ lantern when they headed to the Anoka Middle School for the Arts’ Fred Moore campus this week.
The artwork sits at the center of a new mini-roundabout in Anoka, at the intersection of Fourth Avenue, Military Road and Washington Street.
Mini-roundabouts have a smaller footprint and cost less, but still offer the traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures of traditional roundabouts.
Anoka’s mini-roundabout is unique because it is one of very few five-legged versions in the state.
With the 100th anniversary of Anoka’s Halloween celebrations approaching, Anoka Halloween Inc. approached the city about some kind of a permanent tribute to the city’s fame as the Halloween Capital of the World.
Engineering Technician Ben Nelson came up with the idea of a jack o’ lantern as the centerpiece of a roundabout being designed as part of the neighborhood street renewal project.
It opened to traffic Tuesday – the first day of school. Nelson was on site and said things went well.
The face is set in colored concrete.
Nelson said there have been concerns about larger vehicle traffic, like buses, navigating the roundabout.
“But that’s what they are designed for,” he said. A similar concept was built near a school in Shakopee and has been very successful, Nelson said.
Cars and smaller vehicles can go around the central island, but buses and trucks can go over it while navigating the intersection.
Nelson said that while the intersection is open, crews still need to put the finishing touches on the mini-roundabout, including striping on the road.