It's the first week of classes and many students at one metro high school are nervous. So are their parents, over the drive to school.
Drivers turning toward Elkhorn South High School get a frightening lesson in judging speed and distance. “We have a lot of new drivers, we have a lot of parents figuring out the car lanes and it’s dangerous,” says parent Robin Heller.
The school district paid $200,000 for traffic signals at the intersection of Highway 31 and Blue Sage, the street leading to school, but the State Department of Roads won't allow the lights to be turned on without a new traffic study.
State engineers say one need for a traffic count is liability. If a light is not warranted and there's a rear-end collision, the state could be sued. A one-day study will take place in about two weeks when school traffic patterns are established.
“Got kids who are going to go, got people going 55 miles an hour and sooner or later is going to be a bad situation and we got the lights, use them,” says parent Kim Sorenson.
Many of the drivers turning toward or leaving school are teenagers. “It takes an extra five minutes to find a space to get in because of the traffic on that lane,” says student Hallie Mason.
State engineers know 204th Street is busy, so a traffic study will focus on the number of vehicles on the street leading to the school. Many parents say if you do the math, the lights need to be turned on.
A state traffic engineer tells Fact Finders the traffic study near the high school is a priority, but it will take a week after the count to analyze data. If it shows the signals are warranted the estimated switch-on date would be sometime in early September.