Wind snaps traffic signal pole

By Paige Brier

Alan Montgomery/Collegian - Wooden poles have been installed, with cables between them supporting the traffic lights at Main and 30th Avenue, after a steel traffic pole snapped off.
Alan Montgomery/Collegian - Wooden poles have been installed, with cables between them supporting the traffic lights at Main and 30th Avenue, after a steel traffic pole snapped off.

City officials planned a temporary fix after a traffic light pole at 30th Avenue and Main collapsed on Feb. 21.

The foot-thick, galvanized steel pole snapped off near its base at about 5 a.m. Sunday. Crews installed temporary wooden poles, then hung traffic signals from cables stretched between them.

The intersection was closed through Sunday and part of Monday.

Three westbound motorists seeing barricades at Main tried to turn north onto Farmington early Sunday, on snow-packed, icy 30th Avenue and lost control, ending up in a three-car, non-injury fender-bender. One car was shoved up onto a lawn.

During the Feb. 21 inspections, crews found a second signal pole, near the fallen pole, that had corrosion. On Wednesday, inspectors checked the poles from 23rd Avenue to 30th and Main.

A sonograph machine showed that the steel poles were in good shape and need not be replaced.

The light pole that collapsed had rusted from the inside. It was originally installed in 1987. The poles were installed at the same time as other poles on 30th, at the intersections of Severance, Plum, and Lorraine, but those were not corroded.

Brian Clennan, the city’s director of engineering, said, the broken pole was a mystery. “Somehow it was getting moisture on the inside of the pole, which shouldn’t happen.”

Clennan said that the pole should have lasted longer.

Permanent fixes to the traffic light poles at Main and 30th will be included in the Main Street Reconstruction Project later this year. It is to start in June.

The restoration project will include wiring under the streets, for signals; adding pedestrian crossing signals, gutter work, and new sidewalks.

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