When the school bell rings most students are eager to escape the confines of the classroom and dart off campus, but some Turlock Junior High School students’ paths may be impeded due to the construction of a median strip on the eastside of the campus on North Walnut Road.
In the works since 2012, construction on the median began this month in order to keep people, particularly TJHS students, from crossing the street in undesignated areas according to Principle Civil Engineer Eric Picciano of the City of Turlock.
The two northbound and two southbound lanes on North Walnut have been conflated to two one-way lanes as the City of Turlock prepares construction for the median that will run from the North Walnut and Christoffersen Parkway intersection to just north of Winter Haven Drive which borders the school’s grass fields to the south.
“The median has been planned for some time with the purpose of preventing children from crossing where they shouldn’t,” said Picciano.
The median will serve as more than a concrete lane divider as it will host a four foot wrought iron fence to thwart students’ attempts to dash across the lanes, which is particularly perilous during the before and after school traffic. Just three years prior, a TJHS student was hospitalized in critical condition after being struck by a vehicle at approximately 2:30 p.m. between Monte Vista Avenue and Christoffersen Parkway. The construction of the interior barrier will serve to ensure the safety of TJHS students since the City has experienced “issues with students randomly crossing” said Picciano.
Along with the fence the City will also be planting shrubbery that will comply with the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, a state landscaping requirement that requires the City of Turlock to plant drought tolerant plants and undergo periodic water audits as well.
The concrete portion of the median is slated to be complete by the time school begins in mid-August thus not affecting traffic, but the shrubbery and fence will not be complete until mid-September.