New lights approved for school crosswalk

by Paul Rignell
Contributing writer
The Sherburne County Board and the Elk River School Board have approved a plan to install flashing lights at a crosswalk near Westwood Elementary School in Zimmerman.
Funding will come from the county’s traffic safety fund, which consists of fees that first-time traffic offenders (often for speeding, Sheriff Joel Brott told Star News) have paid to take a two-hour course on traffic safety in lieu of paying their traffic fine or contesting the charge in court.
“It’s been a very successful program for us,” Brott said of the safety course available to first-time offenders. “Folks that have taken it have learned a lot.”
When participants successfully complete the course, they can have the citation removed from their record.
Footings for the new crossing lights in Zimmerman will be installed this month, and Brott said to expect the lights to be up and running by January. The county has installed other crossing lights near Zimmerman High School and near 205th Avenue and County Road 43 in Big Lake, all funded through traffic safety class fees. Brott said a fourth crossing project is planned to be finished by September 2012 near Eagle Lake Road and Glenwood Avenue in Big Lake.
The lights are solar-powered. Once the equipment is installed, the school district takes ownership and responsibility for insurance costs, maintenance and repairs.