The Minnesota State Patrol says a huge thank you is due to the Good Samaritan who used his skid loader to move Jersey barriers and free a truck towing a mobile home that got stuck in a construction zone on I-494 in Maple Grove Monday night.
Traffic was blocked for nearly four hours when the extra wide load got wedged between barriers in the southbound lanes of I-494 near Bass Lake Road around 8:30 p.m.. The lanes reopened after midnight.
The State Patrol summoned the help of another motorist who had a skid loader and was passing through the area. That driver used the skid loader to open barriers separating the northbound and southbound lanes, allowing the truck towing the house turn around and head back north, said Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the State Patrol.
Traffic caught behind the blockage was routed up the entrance ramp at Bass Lake Road, Nielson said.
Nielson said the truck hauling the house was registered to Many Trails Company and was moving the home from Wisconsin to Willmar, Minn. Driver Roger Guex, 69, of Shawano, Wis., had a permit to haul a 14-foot wide load through the Twin Cities, but was not supposed to be in the construction area. Freeway lanes are typically 12 feet wide, but lanes on I-494 through Maple Grove and Plymouth are 11 feet wide due to construction.
"He had a permit, but not to be in that area. They should not have been there," she said. "It was too wide to pass.
Before the man with the skid loader showed up, Guex used his truck in an attempt to push the barriers aside, Nielson said. That caused damage to the mobile home.
Guex was cited for violating terms of a conditional permit and operating unsafe equipment.
Nielson said a preliminary incident report indicates that a letter of thanks be written to the person who stopped to help.