Central High School may seek legal advice on entrance/exit

Traffic engineer Wayne Higgins explains aspects of roundabout design.

Traffic engineer Wayne Higgins explains aspects of roundabout design.

Increased discussion and community involvement in the issue of what type of entrance/exit the school should build where its new access road will meet Highway 83 south of Highway 50 prompted the Central High School Board president to suggest the district seek legal advice on its options.

Board President Mary Ellen Pearsall made the suggestion after a lengthy discussion about the issue that included engineers, community members, a town chairman and school officials.


Chris Skrzynecki

The school initially budgeted about $175,000 for constructing a relatively inexpensive T intersection, presumably with a traffic signal. But state Department of Transportation officials said if the school constructed that sort of intersection, the state would not authorize a signal and the school district would be responsible for renovating the Highway 50 and 83/75 intersection in the future. The school could avoid that obligation by building a roundabout intersection, which the state favors, for an estimated $500,000. The Highway 50 and 83/75 intersection work is expected to be even more expensive.

After the meeting, Pearsall said she suggested the legal help so the district could be sure that whatever course it chooses to pursue would not impair the safety of students and staff.

“The safety of our kids is number one,” Pearsall said.

Salem resident Chris Skrzynecki presented information he gathered at a meeting Monday with Department of Transportation officials. He urged the board to pursue a T intersection with a stop sign on the access road, with the school’s resource officer directing traffic at peak times. He contends that the state’s requirement to modify the Highway 50 and 83/75 intersection will be avoided unless the district’s enrollment grows to 1,400. That level is included in a draft memorandum of understanding between the state, the school district and Paddock Lake.

The district’s current enrollment is 1,198 and school officials have said they expect flat or declining student population in coming years.

“The state is not forcing us to have a roundabout,” Skrzynecki said.

When traffic sufficiently increases, a traffic signal could then easily be installed at the entrance/exit, Skrzynecki added.

But traffic engineer Wayne Higgins, who has worked for the district on the project, said traffic signals are not necessarily safer than other alternatives.

“My experience is there is a … better safety record with roundabouts than at traffic signals,” Higgins said.

The most recent cost for the roundabout presented at Tuesday’s meeting would be about $500,000.



  1. Trisha says:

    Where is all this money coming from to pay for this? People are still losing their jobs or are still looking for employment because they are not working. Many people over the age of 50 have lost jobs and cannot get full time employment. If they do it’s for minimum wage or just above that. They are losing their homes because they are being taxed out of them and now you want to make more taxes? You are already spending big time money on both Central HS and Salem Grade schools.
    How about you only tax those that have decent paying jobs(over $100,000 K) and if they can’t pay for it don’t do it. We have 2 adults and 2 children in our house but only $55K in income. If something doesn’t change we will lose our home…that’s our taxes taken from the rolls.
    We are all tired of all of this spend, spend, spend!

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