Grand Island, Neb. -- A local middle school has started construction to create a safer path for students who walk to school every day.
A busy intersection will soon be safer for Walnut Middle School students walking to school or home.
"What'll happen now is that our students will have now have access by sidewalk straight to the corner of 15th and Custer which there'll be a crosswalk there with a crossing guard and then they'll be able to cross safely without having to worry about dodging traffic," said Rod Foley, the principal at Walnut Middle School.
The 3-way crossing will soon be a four-way intersection making it easier for not only pedestrians, but drivers as well.
"It'll certainly improve the traffic flow through the area. It'll make it a lot safer headed to school and in fact it will encourage kids to walk and bike to school more often," said Scott Griepenstroh, a Project Manager from the Public Works Department of Grand Island.
The intersection currently uses temporary stop signs that school staff put out at the beginning and end of each school day.
The importance of this project stems from nearly 60 percent of the student body crossing Custer Ave. as they walk or bike to school.
Foley said, "We've had a few fender benders, we've had a kid walk out in front of a moving car and get bumped. Fortunately, we've not had any serious injuries but we don't want to take that chance, we don't want to have anybody at risk of being safe."
The entire process will last six to 10 weeks, but should not affect the 5,000 cars that travel down Custer Ave. every day.
"We expect traffic impacts to be minimal on Custer Avenue. However for the kids walking and biking to school, they'll want to use the 16th Street crossing and avoid the construction zone," said Griepenstroh.