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Dougherty School zone changes

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

July 9, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -School starts in Dougherty County in less than one month, with new staggered starting and ending times. That means new school zone hours on the roads and intersections where students walk.  

 Motorists will have to look out for big changes in school zones times as they drive to work and home. Drivers at Magnolia and Gillionville Road will see big changes coming August 6th, when Dougherty County Schools open, because school zone times will be different and longer.

In the past, all school zone traffic restrictions were from 7:30 to 8:30 in the morning, and 3 to 4 in the afternoon.

But with the new staggered starting times for different school levels, there will changes for drivers. Safe Communities Coordinator Michele DeMott said "We will have five different tyes of school zones now. One for elementary schools, one for middle, one for high schools, and we'll have some zones that are combined."

Dougherty County elementary schools will start at 8 and end at 2:30 , and the school zones will slow traffic for one hour around those times. Middle school is from 8:15 to 3:15. The high Schools start at 8:45 and end at 4.

 Of course some roads and intersections will have two or more combinations. Dougherty County Schools Public Information Director R.D Harter said "Some elementary and middle school crossing zones are the same, so that will require lengthened times to be aware students may be in the road crossing the streets at that time."

 The Georgia Department of Transportation is printing up 150 new signs for the new school zone times, and they will be up soon. But safety officials want drivers to know the changes are coming. DeMott said "Notice the school zones that you drive through to and from work everyday, particularly those associated with high schools in the afternoon. Because those will actually last until quarter till 5 in the afternoon."

And school officials expect more students to be walking to school this year, because of skyrocketing gas prices. So they urge drivers to get ready for different times in school zones, in less than one month.

The school system will have to have some crossing guards work longer shifts at certain intersections. The City of Albany is paying $3500 to make the new signs and put them up.

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