City of Columbia increases pedestrian safety near Mill Creek Elementary

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Works is upgrading a crosswalk near Mill Creek Elementary on Nifong Blvd.

The current crosswalk is on Nifong Blvd. and Woods Edge Rd. with normal signage and white striping. Starting Wednesday, construction workers will add an island to the pedestrian crosswalk and add flashing beacons in the roadway.

One neighbor on Woods Edge Rd., Tim Birk said this upgrade coincides with increased traffic on Nifong Blvd. 

"Traffic is extremely heavy on that street in the mornings and the evenings, especially around the time school starts and gets out," Birk said.

Barry Dalton, Communications Relations Specialist for Columbia Public Works, said a pedestrian island gives a refuge halfway across the street.

"Safety is very important near schools. Crosswalks are safe, but the addition of a flashing beacon at some crosswalks creates an added visual alert," Dalton said. 

Birk said an upgrade to a crosswalk is important to keep kids safe on their way to school.

This crosswalk is associated with the Nifong Intersections Improvement Project approved by the city council on Oct. 16, 2017.

Birk has lived in Columbia for about 11 years and said construction on the South side has both positives and negatives.

"All of it will be good if it makes it flow smoothly and it keeps it safe, which is the biggest two factors that we would look for," Birk said.

Construction will also include replacing asphalt shoulders with concrete. The project is expected to be completed by Aug. 13.