by Logan Gruber
A new warning system was put in place Monday morning at the intersection of Stearns CR 2 and Minnesota Street, just west of St. Joseph.
Jodi Teich, highway engineer for Stearns County, said during a phone interview on Monday that the system was tested in the morning and was determined to be working properly.
“The system has been put in place to help drivers judge the gaps [between vehicles],” Teich said.
During an 11-month period – between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 1, 2013 – 10 crashes were reported at the intersection of CR 2 and Minnesota Street. One of those crashes resulted in a death, while four others resulted in injury. The remaining five resulted in damage to property only. The system should help drivers prevent crashes.
The system works by sensing the speed of approaching vehicles on CR 2 through loops placed in the pavement. When a vehicle is estimated to be six seconds away from the intersection, the lights facing Minnesota Street and Leaf Road will activate, indicating “Traffic Approaching” by flashing. Sensors are also placed near the stop sign on Minnesota Street, so as a vehicles pulls up to the stop sign, lights on both north- and south-bound CR 2 will activate, alerting drivers to “Entering Traffic” by flashing.
“They’re quite impressive, actually,” Teich said, referring to the new system.
The system in place here, Teich said, is more advanced than those on other roads across the state. She said the six-second gap is what most drivers seem to be comfortable with, and that’s why the system is designed to detect a vehicle’s speed. A federal safety grant paid for 90 percent of the warning system.