City plans new crossing near Hutton Elementary

The City of Grand Forks will make crossing safer and easier for Hutton Elementary School students this fall by moving the crosswalk up the road.

The City of Grand Forks will make crossing safer and easier for Hutton Elementary School students this fall by moving the crosswalk up the road.

The plan includes ramp access to Highway 3, a new sidewalk and a paved pathway on 25th Street.

Mayor Brian Taylor said that though the project is expensive, it is something they have to do because it has to do with children’s safety.

“I think we are going to be moving on with it. They’re going to start putting in fill to get the grade up.”

Taylor said one of the challenges is that the new crossing position is below the road so they need to build it up to make it safe.

“It’s not just putting a sidewalk in, it’s building it up so the pedestrian is visible as they approach the sidewalk.”

The other challenge that the mayor mentioned is that the crosswalk that they do have is quite a ways away, so the students will cross at the closest and straightest route, which is 25th Street.

They have to deal with that access point being the shortest route to those subdivisions there.

Taylor said the plan is approved, but it’s now up to council to decide how much they will spend at this point. The first phase will cost $30,000 and would include an approach ramp on the south side of Highway 3 to gain access to the new crosswalk location on 25th Street.

Phase two adds a new sidewalk to the north side of the highway section along 25th Street, including a curb/gutter and storm water drainage. This would cost $60,000.

Phase three completes the sidewalk on the south side of the highway from the new ramp on 25th Street to 72nd Avenue. The plan would be to phase the project in over two or three years.

At last Monday’s city council meeting, council approved funding for the first two phases of the project for an estimated cost of $95,000, which would funded through short-term borrowing.

Coun. Michael Wirischagin said that it’s absolutely necessary to build the crossing given the student traffic at that location.

“At the (June 27) council meeting, the resolution did pass to put the $30,000 behind the project to build the ramp; the problem is once they cross there, there’s still no sidewalk on the other side,” he said.

Wirischagin said he’s surprised it’s taken until now to be addressed.

“It’s one of those things that I can’t even believe has taken so long for people to bring forward to say something,” he said. “It’s a whole lot of money but I think it’s money well spent.”

Coun. Christine Thompson agrees.

“It’s going to benefit our kids going to school,” Thompson said. “I think it’s a very good thing and one that I certainly support.”

She said that the city has had some discussions with the Ministry of Transportation and they advised that if the city has the ramp and builds up the grade then they would move the crosswalk. The school district would then move their crossing guard.

“The safety of our kids is paramount,” Thompson added.