Stoplight added for safety near construction site

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 30, 2007

Drivers passing the Ironton Middle School had better pay attention to more than just the possibility of students walking into the street.

There is now a new traffic signal that makes the intersection of North Second and Delaware streets a three-way stop.

Because of construction of the new schools in Ironton, the middle school is now being used by high school students. Ironton Schools Superintendent Dean Nance said that because high school students drive to school it was necessary to make a change in the traffic signals for the safety of students.

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Originally, the new stoplight was going to be put up on Friday, but street crews put them up two days early to get motorists acclimated to the change before school begins next week.

“There is more school bus traffic in and out of there and there is construction going on,” said Mike Pemberton, Ironton’s city, flood and sanitation superintendent. “So we started it early.”

School officials asked the city council for help to make it safer for students.

“With the increase of bus and construction traffic, it has been congested,” Pemberton said.

Nance said that the safety of the students is always a consideration.

He said he, the transportation director, mayor, police chief, fire chief and others met to brainstorm ideas after the school started being used by high school students.

They decided the traffic signal was needed because many people were running the yellow light at the intersection.

“This way everyone comes to a stop, it’s a polite way to exit at Delaware Street,” Nance said. “It’s human nature to try to get as many people as possible through the light. This way everyone has to take turns.”

Nance said it may be a small inconvenience but “if it saves the life of one student it is well worth it.”

Now, all traffic will be required to stop before proceeding through this intersection.

The speed limit has been reduced within this school zone to ensure the safety of school busses, students, staff and residents entering and exiting this intersection.

The City of Ironton is asking all motorists to be aware of this change in order to provide safe routes for motorists as the construction of new schools continues.