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County considers moving school crosswalk

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Students walking near two Center Grove schools could take a new, safer route.

The county is considering building a crosswalk.

A federal grant, if approved, would pay for the project to move a crosswalk between the high school and Center Grove Middle School Central to the west, which could cost about $200,000 to complete. The county would be required to pay 10 percent of that total, with the rest being paid from a grant.

Johnson County Commissioners plan to discuss the project with school officials to determine whether moving the crosswalk is the best and most prudent way to protect students crossing Stones Crossing Road.

The current crosswalk, located on the east side of the middle school, spans five lanes, including turn lanes, which can make it hard for approaching drivers to see pedestrians if there are vehicles waiting to turn, county highway director Luke Mastin said.

The project would move the crosswalk west to align with a driveway into the high school parking lot, which school officials may be closed to traffic in the future. Since there is already a concrete median in the roadway, walkers could cross one lane and stand in the median to wait for traffic to clear, Mastin said.

Although the project would add a ramp and cut the current median, the project could cost $200,000 due to required federal design guidelines and inspections, Mastin said.

Commissioners wondered if the project would be the best use of county money, even at 10 percent of the cost, because students might not walk the extra distance to use the new crosswalk and continue crossing in the same place.

The commissioners also wanted to know how to get pedestrians to go to the crosswalk at the intersection of Stones Crossing and Morgantown roads, which has a stoplight.

Mastin will submit a grant application for the project by a July deadline, but commissioner Brian Baird plans to meet with school administrators. If a better solution can be found, the county could send the grant funds back.

“I think there’s a better way. Sometimes we think throwing money at a problem is going to solve it,” Baird said.

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