Ways considered to slow traffic near Hampton schools

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Hampton Township School District officials are looking for more information before making a final decision on plans to mitigate speeding on the roads students walk along to get to the district's schools.

In June, the school board gave the administration permission to work with a consultant over the summer to determine the district's needs to move forward with the possible plan to install flashing school-zone lights after worried parents questioned pedestrian safety along McCully Road.

Engineers at The Gateway Engineers Inc, of Pittsburgh, submitted a 10-page proposal on July 16 outlining the scope of work to install flashing school-zone lights at Hampton High School, Wyland Elementary School and Poff Elementary School.

Central Elementary School currently has flashing school-zone lights located along Middle Road.

The initial estimates for installing the lights made many school board members hesitant to move forward with the project and interested in alternative designs.

Gateway Engineers quoted the district a project cost of $12,500 for the company to complete all of the engineering work for the project, which would include preparing and submitting all of the signal permit plans to PennDOT and the township, as well as preparing and soliciting bids for the signal installations for all three locations.

Superintendent John Hoover said his initial research estimated it would cost an additional $18,000 per school for the purchase of the lights. In 2011, the cost for the Shaler Area School District to purchase and install two flashing school-zone lights along Wetzel Road near Jeffery Primary School was $25,000.

Jeff Kline, director of administrative services and transportation, said there were other options for the district to consider, including posting signs with hours for reduced speeds and having Gateway engineers focus on the high school and Poff Elementary because Wyland already has similar signs.

“We're not required by (state) code to go all the way with flashing lights,” Kline said. “It's our decision, which makes it harder on us.”

School board members suggested looking at the option of posting reduced speed-limit signs, and, Hoover said, district officials would work with the township police to enforce the reduced speed limits if the board pursues that plan.

Hoover said though the issue initially was raised regarding only McCully Road and the 15 to 20 high school students who walk to school, he wanted to look for a solution for all of the district buildings.

“I don't disagree there is an issue there,” Hoover said of McCully Road. “I think whatever we do, we have to do it the right way.”

District officials plan to continue the conversation after the request for a revised proposal from Gateway Engineers to install signs.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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