New Walnut Median, Traffic Changes for Student Safety Expects to be Finished by Start of School Year

Brandon McMillan/TurlockCityNews.com

Work is underway on a median on North Walnut Road, in front of Turlock Junior High School, that the City of Turlock hopes will deter students from crossing where there are no crosswalks.

The median was approved at the June 24 Turlock City Council meeting at a cost of $290,093, in hopes of increasing the safety of students at TJHS. The project will be paid for through state and federal funds.

In November of 2011, a TJHS student was crossing where there was no crosswalk, and was hit by a vehicle traveling on North Walnut Road.

The median will stretch from Christoffersen Parkway to Winter Haven Drive. According to staff reports from the Turlock City Council agenda, a four-foot high wrought iron fence will run the entire length of the median. The fence will hopefully deter students from crossing at random locations and force them to use the marked crosswalk at Christoffersen Parkway and North Walnut Road.

Construction on the new median began on July 28, and according to staff reports, a majority of construction expects to be completed beginning Aug. 11 before the TJHS resumes school on Aug. 18.

Director of Development Services and City Engineer Mike Pitcock reiterated the City’s desire to have the median completed prior to the start of school at the Planning Commission meeting on Thursday.

“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the school district the whole time, trying to accommodate all the necessary, I guess issues, that come along with the improvement,” said Pitcock. “But the improvement is necessary for child safety.”

Along with the median changing where students cross, some traffic conditions will change for parents picking up and dropping off students at TJHS.

Due to the median’s installation, there will no longer be left turns across the median. Access to the school’s parking lot will only be right-in, right-out from now on and parents should plan accordingly.

The F. Loduca Company of Stockton is completing the construction of the median as it had the lowest bid at $290,093; the total cost of the project, which includes construction contingency, engineering and inspection, and preliminary cost $368,212.

“They’re supposed to be in on (Aug. 11) to start putting down the concrete,” said Pitcock. “Their goal is to have physical improvements all complete before the junior high opens the following Monday except for the landscape work that is going to be done probably during school. So that’s not going to be 100 percent complete but we’ll get most of the physical improvements done before.”

The project utilizes state funds from the Safe Routes to Schools program and match fund from the Capital Facility Fees (CFF) program. The Safe Routes funding ($319,300) must be used for this project. It otherwise would have been forfeited. The additional funding ($48,912) came from transfers from the CFF program.
 

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