by Vicki Ikeogu
Motorists travelling through portions of Sartell have had to make a slight adjustment when navigating portions of Stearns CR 78 and Second Street S./CR 133.
It’s an adjustment Sartell Community Development Director Anita Archambeau hopes will be a good enhancement for a busy intersection.
On Oct. 31, Sartell officials, along with Stearns County, unveiled the new traffic signal at the intersection of Stearns CR 133 and CR 78 on the west side of the Sartell Bridge.
“It’s a pretty standard intersection-control device,” Archambeau said. “And we hope it will increase the functionality of that intersection.”
Stearns County Highway Engineer Jodi Teich said the need for intersection control had been identified for the intersection. However, budget constraints had the project slated for several years down the road.
Archambeau said for anyone to develop the vacant property directly north of that intersection, an intersection control mechanism had to be put in place.
Construction of a Kwik Trip project is now underway directly to the northwest of the stoplights.
“And with Kwik Trip wanting to develop a location near that intersection, it triggered the requirement for that (traffic control) project,” Archambeau said.
Kwik Trip had offered to pay half of the nearly $250,000 cost if the intersection control was moved ahead to 2017.
The remaining cost was split between the city and the county. Stearns County funded three-eighths of the cost and Sartell the final one-eighth.
The project took about six weeks to complete. Teich said the only delays to the project were due to a few Xcel Energy powerline poles.
“(The traffic signal) is definitely going to improve traffic congestion,” Teich said. “Especially during the morning and afternoon commutes when we see a lot of the back-ups.”
Teich said the county will be monitoring the timings on the lights for a few weeks to make sure traffic continues to move through the intersection.
“We heard lots of positive feedback during the planning phase of this project, and I would like to believe it will be an asset to the community,” she said.
Vicki Ikeogu is a local freelance reporter from St. Cloud. Ikeogu is a 2015 mass communications graduate from St. Cloud State University. Ikeogu was previously the business reporter at the St. Cloud Times. She currently works as a transportation planner for the Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization.