New traffic signal at Bunker-Quinn could be up by Monday

A traffic signal on Bunker Lake Boulevard in Andover was severely damaged the morning of Jan. 20 when it was struck by a garbage truck dumpster with a malfunctioning hydraulic lift.

Anoka County Highway Engineer Doug Fischer said Jan. 28 that a new traffic signal pole and mast arm for the westbound side of Bunker Lake Boulevard at Quinn Street could be in place and operational by Monday, Feb. 3. The intersection by the Andover Station commercial development is a four-way stop until then.

“We thought about a temporary signal, but really that work would take almost as long and would interfere with the installation of the permanent pole,” Fischer said Jan. 22 as the county was scrambling to get the problem fixed.

Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said at 9:53 a.m. Jan. 20 sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene of the accident at the intersection of Bunker Lake Boulevard and Quinn Street.

According to Sommer, deputies found that a garbage truck driver was having mechanical problems with the hydraulic lift during the morning runs and had worked on the problem several times.

While traveling westbound on Bunker Lake Boulevard, the hydraulic line reportedly gave out again. This caused the dumpster to lift in the air and strike the masthead traffic signal, leaving it inoperable.

Fischer said the county highway department has a traffic signal pole and mast arm in stock, but the contractor who will install this new equipment must first thaw the ground in order to pour the concrete footings 11 to 12 feet in the ground to provide a stable base.

The base has conduit wiring in it to provide power to the traffic signal and the loop detector that knows when vehicles are at the intersection. Although the county does not know whether the concrete base itself cracked, Fischer said they do not want to chance it.

“When you see that extensive of damage, you can’t risk not knowing if (the concrete base) is fractured or not,” he said.

According to Fischer, it took all of last weekend just to thaw the ground so the contractor could excavate the old base. The ground around the new base will need to stay warm so the concrete can cure quickly.

Eric Hagen is at
[email protected]