WEIRTON - State highway officials will be in Weirton later this month to talk about the entrance to the new elementary school at Pennsylvania Avenue and Preston.
Last week, several city leaders had voiced concern there were no plans to put a traffic signal at the intersection, located near the top of a grade with obstructed visibility. They said they'd been told the traffic count didn't justify the expenditure and they should instead consider assigning a police officer to traffic control duty.
But city officials nixed that idea, citing the 2002 death of a school crossing guard at a similarly configured intersection less than 3 miles from the new school, and said the 950 young children who'd be travelling to and from the school on a daily basis, along with their teachers, support staff and parents, warranted a light, at least at the start and end of the school day.
After learning of the highway department's interest in attending the meeting, city officials said the indications are the Department of Highways will offer them a permit but no funding to install a light, which in complex situations can cost several hundred thousand dollars.
"We want to see what (they) say first," Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh said. "But I'm lining up my ducks just in case.
"My concern is they're going to slough it off on us or the school board," he said. "I don't know that for sure yet, until we go into the meeting, but I want to be ready."
Marsh said the city does not have money to pay for the light.
Mayor George Kondik, meanwhile, said they need to use the meeting "to voice our concerns" and urged those who haven't already done so to familiarize themselves with the site.
"We need to address the problem," he said.
The meeting is set for 10 a.m. April 26.
(Harris can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)