Weather, error cause delays in crosswalk projects

Constantin Lupu, Tim Borchelt and Greg Brauner with K.W. Luetkemeyer paint turn lanes leading out of Hughes Stadium onto Duquesne Road.

Constantin Lupu, Tim Borchelt and Greg Brauner with K.W. Luetkemeyer paint turn lanes leading out of Hughes Stadium onto Duquesne Road.

Jerry Manter

The updated crosswalks at Missouri Southern, along with the new traffic signals, will be in full operation by the week of Feb. 3.

Bob Harrington, director of physical plant, said the traffic signals need to be in their awareness mode for a week until they begin operating.

The construction project was scheduled to be completed by Christmas 2002, however, weather and a mathematical error caused the month-long delay.

The new lights on Duquesne Road had poles that were too close to Empire Electric’s wires. Under regulation, there must be 10 feet of open space between the poles and the wires.

“We weren’t expecting that delay,” Harrington said.

As students prepare for new traffic regulations, some have expressed different opinions about the project and its validity for student safety.

“I think we could have spent the money on something better,” said Myriam Gharbi, senior teacher education and French major. “There’s a tunnel you can take.”

Gharbi said she never has had any problems crossing Newman Road.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a major difference.” Gharbi said.

Sylvester Moore, freshman undecided major, also thinks the money spent on the crosswalk system should have gone toward other campus projects.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Moore said. “I think they could have used the money for the football field.”

Moore said students should be mature enough to be able to look both ways and cross the street.

Included in the construction has been a concrete barrier on Duquesne Road.

Harrington said the barrier was added to keep pedestrians from jaywalking. Students, and stadium visitors have been avoiding the designated crosswalks, giving reason to campus officials to add the protective barrier.

“Pedestrians were crossing everywhere,” Harrington said. “It was a very hazardous situation.”

Despite its purpose, the barrier hasn’t had the warmest of welcomes.

“There’s not enough space between the lanes,” said Leticia Diaz, senior psychology major. “It’s not comfortable.”

Although reviews of the new construction are mixed, Harrington believes the project was well worth the time, effort and money.

“Some people don’t understand all the work that went on behind the scenes,” he said. “This took a long time”

One challenge with the project was how Newman Road faces state regulations and how Duquesne Road works under the city. Another challenge, Harrington sees in the future, will be the collaboration between driver and pedestrian.

“Students will need to follow the law,” he said.

When the lights take affect next week, security will no longer direct traffic during the peek times students leave campus. Even though an officer won’t be present, Harrington thinks the lights and crosswalk will benefit everyone coming in and out of the parking lots.

“It’s been a real good project,” he said. “I think it’s going to make everything safer.”