New stoplight, construction to impact first day traffic


Olivia Oliver, Website Editor

As students return for the start of the school year, they will notice several new projects aimed at helping traffic flow. The new stoplight at the intersection of Stones Crossing and Trojan Lane will help combat some of the heavy traffic drivers face before and after school.

“Logistically speaking, there are parents going to work, Middle School Central [traffic] and high school students coming in, so we need[ed] an officer out there to dictate where the [drivers] go so that we can get everyone into school on time.” said Chief of CGPD Ray Jackson.

The push to put this new stoplight in truly started rolling when a police officer was hit by two cars in March of 2018. It became clear then that a safer, more efficient method of directing traffic was needed. Several other factors played into the decision, including student accidents.

“Well, when you’re turning left, there’s no traffic control after [around 3:15], and we had a situation where a student got hit hard. That scared me. I remember getting that call and it’s nerve wracking,” Assistant Principal Jake Short said.

To make the stoplight as efficient as possible, it has the option of being controlled by sensors or by a manual switch. This enables CGPD officers to control the light’s timing in order to keep cars moving during the morning rush.

“Instead of [the officer] being in the middle of the road, we’ll be able to control things from a safer distance,” Chief Jackson said. “In the afternoon, though, once we get the students out, moving forward that light will make a huge difference on extracurricular activities leaving the school.”

Hall of Excellence Construction

The exterior around the Hall of Excellence entrance was under construction for the majority of the summer and will be under construction during the first week of school. The new repairs and additions, such as a new crosswalk, are not expected to have any major impact on parent drop off; however, until the construction is finished, parents will need to be aware of a few issues. 

“We want students dropped off on the left side curb, not on the side where the construction fencing is,” Short said. “We also have a new crosswalk for [student] drivers who park in the band lot. We’re going to get them across as fast as we can, especially at 7:30 because we know tardies can depend on that, but do not cross in front of traffic.”

The reason for both the crosswalk and Hall of Excellence construction is primarily to make this area safer for pedestrians, especially students walking into school. The exterior of the building was in need of repairs around Door 9 in order to prevent safety hazards.

“Over time, the paver base, which is normally sand, washes out and those pavers become unstable,” Short said. “[There] were also some brick walls that had some spalding and cracking, which could cause them to be unsafe for people to walk by.”

Other additions to the building entrance include a new handicap ramp closer to the parking lot, and the elevated, 40-foot crosswalk for students who park in the band lot, which will be more accessible for those with mobility impairments.

Construction Near Bus Lot

Another area under construction will be around Doors 4, 5, and 6 on the backside of the Student Activity Center. These doors will not be accessible and will eventually disappear as construction of a new pool in this area begins.

“Once you get down to door 4, which is at the end of the math hallway, there will be a fence up and that whole lot will be inaccessible.” said Short. “That is because they are going to start doing sitework for the [new] pool.”

This fenced-off area should not interfere with buses during the morning drop off or afternoon dismissal. Drivers and pedestrians alike, including visitors to the athletic office, should not enter the fenced-off construction area and should be aware that the only doors accessible in that area are Doors 3 and 4.

Advice for the First Week Back

Always stay within the speed limit, leave early and follow directions.

— CGPD Chief Ray Jackson

Both Chief Jackson and Short warned that even with everything running as smoothly as possible, the traffic in the morning is unavoidable, despite the Hall of Excellence entrance and new stoplight being ready to go for the first day back.

“You couple that in with all the new students at Middle School Central, all the new students driving at the high school, all the freshman parents dropping off who are not used to the process, and it’s going to be a little chaotic for the first week, maybe week and a half,” Chief Jackson said.

They stressed that drivers leave earlier than usual until traffic gets settled into the new routines. Another piece of advice given to drivers is to be vigilant, both to officers guiding traffic, students and traffic signals, especially as driving conditions change throughout the year.

“Pay attention. It’ll be relatively light out, but it’s going to get darker as we go on,” Short said. “Students don’t always press the [crosswalk] buttons, and I’ve seen drivers speed through there.”

Drivers are also cautioned to only use the designated drop off areas and to never let students out of the car along main roads, bus lots or parking lots, which creates hazards both for the student and other drivers. The first week back is always one of the busiest in terms of traffic, but by following the advice and guidance of the administration and CGPD, drivers can get themselves and others to school safely and on time.

“Always stay within the speed limit, leave early and follow directions,” Chief Jackson said.

For additional information, visit the Center Grove High School information page about construction.