Local News

Cities update school zone signs

Posted September 10, 2009 5:39 p.m. EDT
Updated September 10, 2009 6:47 p.m. EDT

— For some drivers, figuring out when school zones are in effect and how fast they should be driving can be difficult. It is even worse when the signs are not current.

“There’s a lot of information on the sign because the school schedule is a little bit more complicated,” said Kevin Lacy, a traffic engineer with the state Department of Transportation.

Almost every day, Brigitte Lang passes Lockhart Elementary School in Knightdale where are a series of new speed limit signs.

“If I was able to stop one day and read it, I could see it,” Lang said.

Since July, Wake County schools dismissing students an hour early on Wednesdays so teachers can meet with one another. The other four days of the week, students stay 10 minutes later than in years past.

“It’s a change in people’s routine. They get used to a certain time frame,” said Joe Desormeaux, Wake County Schools assistant superintendent for facilities.

Changes like these mean the signs have to be changed by agencies like the state Department of Transportation. Some of the signs in the county have already switched, but others haven’t.

The city of Raleigh is responsible for changing signs near schools within city limits. Cary also is responsible for school signs within the town. There, flashing signals alert drivers when school zones are active.

Municipal officials said they would bill Wake County schools for the materials once the job is done.

“It’s above and beyond normal routine maintenance,” Lacy said.

Officials hope to have the signs updated by October.

“We were not expecting a bill and we haven’t seen one yet, so we’ll see what happens,” Desormeaux said.

No matter who pays, Lang said the signs simply won't work.

“There’s no way you can follow that sign without somebody hitting you from behind if you tried to read it,” Lang said.