Traffic signal to be installed at Jacksonville High School crosswalk

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Permanent changes are on the way to make a Jacksonville roadway safer.

The changes follow several accidents in the area of Henderson Drive and Jacksonville High School.

Currently flashing pedestrians signs, high visibility pavement markings, rumble strips, and cones fill the Jacksonville High School area.

During Wednesday night’s city council workshop, City of Jacksonville Transportation Director Anthony Prinz said the North Carolina Department of Transportation approved to install HAWK. It is also known as High-Intensity Actuated Crosswalk.

“If a pedestrian was to cross the street, they approach the intersection, they push a button just as if it were any other traditional intersection throughout the City of Jacksonville. They push the button after a short period of time, the yellow light on the traffic signal starts to flash. So that indicates to the drivers that something is changing, use caution. After an interval of flashing then the yellow light goes solid…once it turns red then the vehicles know that it has to stop,” said Prinz.

The traffic signal is designed to help pedestrians cross busy streets and manage traffic.

“When we install the HAWK, it’s actually going to have a computer in it that we can talk to from our traffic signal system,” said Prinz.

In order to move forward with the project, the property owner of the market square across the street had to approve the easement.

“He was well aware of the issues that we were struggling with down here regarding pedestrian safety. They were more than willing to support. So I called him on a Thursday. On Monday they had the easement documents in hand and by that Wednesday we had them back signed,” said Prinz.

By state law, all drivers are to wait until the person has completely walked the crosswalk.

Officials don’t have a specific date when HAWK will be installed but they anticipate to have the traffic signal operational by October or November.

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