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Crossing guard fears semi will kill student


Trucks already dangerously close to kids



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DEL LONG, a crossing guard for Walworth Elementary School students, said he fears traffic during his morning and afternoon shifts. The village and the school have been at odds over plans to reroute the highway through the current school parking lot and antique mall. (click for larger version)

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April 09, 2013 | 02:19 PM
WALWORTH — Del Long, a long-time crossing guard on the corner of Beloit and Main streets, is terrified. Every day he sees semitrailers drive over the curb and onto the sidewalk, feet from where children line up to cross the street.

The corner of Beloit and Main streets in Walworth sees a lot of traffic.

Cars, buses and semitrailers cruise around as children walk on the sidewalks.

"Those tracks are from today," he said, pointing to the tire tracks on the sidewalk. "A truck jumped the curb. If this signpost wasn't here, the trucks would be on the sidewalk here."

The signpost, Long said, serves as a boundary for the truck drivers.

Long hugs almost every kid that crosses those streets. He gives high fives to the older boys who don't hug.

"I care about these kids," he said. "I really doubt that (the school administration) cares about these kids. They don't come out here. They don't see these tire tracks. They don't stand feet away from these trucks as they pass."

Long stands in front of the antique mall and keeps the students behind a painted line perpendicular to the road and away from the intersection.

Between 3 and 4 p.m. April 4, a Regional News reporter saw three trucks jump the curb in front of Long.

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That problem, Long said, is easily solved.

"The school needs to get out of the way," he said. "The Department of Transportation has a plan that makes this road easier for trucks and safer for kids."

One of the proposed reroutes of Highway 14 creates two-way traffic on the west side of Heyer Park and continues through the current school parking lot. The Wisconsin DOT has investigated changing the route the highway takes through the village for about four years.

"Instead of these right-turns, the trucks have easy S-curves (with a new route of the highway)," Long said. "The truck drivers wouldn't have to watch out for kids along the sidewalk because the sidewalk will be away from the roadway. It makes so much sense."

Village leaders and school board officials have been at odds over the proposed plans.

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The official school board stance is that routing the highway through the current parking lot would put trucks too close to kids.

Long said trucks are already too close to kids.

"In the afternoon, it's just truck after truck coming through this intersection," he said. "When they drive by, you can feel the ground shake and the air move."

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Tags: Featured Feature story, Geneva Lake West, Highway 14

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