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Bulb-out at Crooked River Elementary will be removed this fall to ease traffic congestion

HOLLY SCHOLZ - This bulb-out located on the north side of the Head Start building interrupts the flow of traffic going into Crooked River Elementary and will be removed this fall.

The traffic congestion at Crooked River Elementary is about to get some relief.

Crook County School District Board members gave the green light to remove a bulb-out that was installed last summer but has caused traffic to back up on Southeast Second Street during the busy drop-off and pick-up times.

"There is currently a bulb-out located on the north side of the Head Start building that interrupts the flow of traffic going into Crooked River Elementary," explained CCSD Facilities and Safety Supervisor Leland Bliss.

The bulb-out, also referred to as a curb extension, is a traffic calming measure used to extend the sidewalk — an angled narrowing of the roadway and a widening of the sidewalk.

The CRE bulb-out was initially designed to slow traffic.

"We see a large amount of traffic backing up in this area every afternoon, and we are looking at removing this and creating another lane of traffic going into the school parking lot," Bliss explained.

This will allow parents and visitors access to the parking area that is currently being blocked by the traffic, and it will also expand the length of the inside lane.

"I am aware of the continuous traffic issues after school and am so happy the bulb-out will be removed," said CRE Principal Cheri Rasmussen. "This construction will allow parents to drive into the parking lot or drive down the pick-up lanes without having to merge. Removing the bulb-out should help the traffic pattern greatly."

The district plans to start the bidding process this week, and Bliss said he hopes to keep the cost below $35,000.

"Weather permitting, we hope to have it finished in early November," Bliss said.

The construction will take approximately three weeks and might cause significant traffic issues for the after school pick-up times.

"I am asking parents to be patient as the end will justify the means," Rasmussen said.

District officials are also considering other options to ease the parking and traffic congestion at CRE, such as upgrading the stadium entrance, the CRE south parking lot, and the connector drive. They are also thinking about enhancing the Southeast Fifth Street access road between the track and baseball field, possibly making it an entrance for buses.

"We are approaching the project in phases, but we will be working on it next spring," Bliss said, adding that an estimated cost for the project is unknown. "We are still working on the full scope of the project."

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