PRIMGHAR—The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors revisited the question of whether or not to put stop signs at an intersection north of Douma Park during its meeting Tuesday., Aug. 11.

The question initially arose in August 2018 when Jesse Clancy of Melvin urged the county to place stop or yield signs installed at the junction of Polk Avenue and 330th Street about three miles southwest of Sanborn following the death of her 30-year-old brother Benjamin “Benji” Gruis.

Gruis had suffered fatal injuries in July 2018 in a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of the two gravel roads, which did not have stop or yield signs in place.

“We said we would agree to address it and re-look at it after Douma was up and running after the improvements to see what traffic counts said,” said board member Sherri Bootsma.

Board member Dan Friedrichsen noted traffic in that area tends to be greater in the summertime.



The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors discussed the potential to place stop signs at the intersection of Polk Avenue and 330th Street about three miles southwest of Sanborn. The intersection was the site of a two-vehicle collision in which Benjamin “Benji” Gruis died in August 2018.



“We don’t have much summer left to get an accurate count,” Friedrichsen said. “That’s our bad not thinking of it. But if we get them out soon, we’ve got three weekends’ worth of the end of summer.”

County auditor Barb Rohwer reminded the board Doug Julius — the interim county engineer at the time of the collision — had told the supervisors that stop or yield signs might not be effective because people still may not stop or believe oncoming traffic in the other road will stop.

County engineer Scott Rinehart, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, also agreed with those points.

“There’s no right answers,” Rinehart said.

Board member Nancy McDowell said a four-way stop signs could be a solution but noted collisions still could happen with those in place.

Friedrichsen suggested the board should go forward with obtaining up-to-date traffic counts at the intersection next summer and compare them with counts from previous years. He asked Rinehart if the county had a traffic counting device on hand.



Scott Rinehart talks stop signs

O’Brien County engineer Scott Rinehart listens while board of supervisors member Dan Friedrichsen speaks during Tuesday’s meeting. Rinehart spoke to the board about the potential of putting stop signs at the intersection of Polk Avenue and 330th Street about three miles southwest of Sanborn.



Rinehart said the county had one previously but that it had been left out too late in the year and was damaged from a snowplow.

“There’s a little node that you bury under a gravel road or nail to the asphalt, and they tell you — a really nice set, I think they were like $1,600 for the set — then they’d tell you the speed, whether they were trucks or cars,” Rinehart said. “You can do a traffic study with one of them.”

“Then they’d tell you the speed, whether they were trucks or cars. You can do a traffic study with one of them,” Rinehart said.

He said he would look into purchasing one for the county.

“That’d be great for anytime somebody said, ‘Well, I want this bridge done,’ or ‘I want this fixed,’” Bootsma said.





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