Work is scheduled to begin soon to make the pedestrian crosswalk in front of the Neosho High School a safer place to cross.

Work is scheduled to begin soon to make the pedestrian crosswalk in front of the Neosho High School a safer place to cross.

The crosswalk, which stretches across the Neosho Boulevard, near the Neosho Junior High, currently has a flashing yellow caution light, which will soon be upgraded to a red stoplight.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced Thursday that the new signalized pedestrian crossing is set to be installed beginning Monday, May 6.

The work is expected to take three to four weeks to complete, at which time the existing pedestrian crossing will be closed.

According to a MoDOT news release, the project is being funded by the Neosho R-5 School District, through a federal grant.

Branco Enterprises will perform the construction work, which will be overseen by MoDOT.

Tim Crawley, the district's assistant superintendent of business and finance, said the project's price tag comes to an approximate $54,000.

"We're going from a yellow flashing caution light to a red light, and so with it being a red light it mandates that people have to stop," Crawley said. "The caution light tells people to use caution, so there's a lot of confusion and some people just drive through it. We've been concerned with near misses with kids and things like that, that someone might get hurt."

The Neosho R-5 Board of Education first approved the stoplight in July 2012.

Crawley said when the district began looking into a red light, a traffic study was done to determine if the light was needed at the crossing.

"It's a very busy crosswalk," Crawley said. "Ultimately, for us, the main thing is safety. We just want these kids to be safe. My own son walks across it every day. We want it to be the safest it can possibly be and we feel like this is another step in that direction."

According to MoDOT, sidewalks leading up to the crossing will also be closed while work is being performed.
In addition, drivers can expect lane closings during the day and sometimes at night, however, no lane closings will take place during the times school traffic is busiest, in the morning from 7:15 to 8 a.m. and in the afternoon between 3 and 4 p.m.

The new stoplight will only come on when a pedestrian pushes a button to activate it. Once the button is pushed, drivers will see a flashing yellow light, then the light will turn solid yellow. Shortly after, the solid yellow light will go off and both of the red lights will turn on.

After a few seconds, the two red lights will begin alternately flashing, and cars will be allowed to proceed after stopping, unless a pedestrian is trying to cross.

Crawley said the addition of a red light not only makes it clear that drivers need to stop, but also allows them to be held accountable for not doing so.

"Everyone knows what a red light means, it means stop, it doesn't mean use caution or go through slowly, you have to stop," Crawley said. "As I understand it, if they run that there could be consequences, there could be a ticket."

For pedestrians, the crossing will feature the standard "don't walk" symbol of an orange hand. After pushing the button, pedestrians will then see the white figure symbol, alerting them it is safe to cross.
After a few seconds the pedestrian symbol will begin flashing orange and a countdown to zero will begin.
When the symbol is flashing, the red stoplight is also flashing.

Once the flashing begins, those crossing will have time to get across the street, and once they have crossed, traffic will be able to drive through the crosswalk.