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Orem plans temporary traffic signal at intersection where student, crossing guard hit

Dec 2, 2022, 6:19 PM | Updated: Nov 3, 2023, 3:55 pm

OREM, Utah – Temporary traffic signals could soon be installed at the intersection where an elementary school student and a crossing guard were hit this week, according to the city engineer for Orem.

The 11-year-old girl and 62-year-old woman were hit around 3:45 Wednesday while in the crosswalk of the intersection of 400 South and 400 West.

A witness told KSL TV the crash happened in a school zone and the 20 mph lights were flashing. The intersection is located about a half-block from Orem Elementary School.

The girl sustained minor injuries, Orem Police said. The crossing guard is still in the hospital recovering from injuries to her upper body and head.

“She is very passionate about the kids,” said Kelly Warnick, who lives on the corner of the intersection. “She is very protective. Big mother bear who’s watching over them.”

Warnick appreciated the crossing guard so much that he installed a bench in front of his house for her.

“There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t wave or say something to her,” he said.

Students from nearby Orem Elementary School stopped by that bench on Friday to sign a get-well poster for their longtime protector.

Warnick said the crossing guard expressed concerns about the busy, four-way stop intersection.

“Something definitely needs to be done,” he said. “It’s not right that there’s an accident every other month.”

“It’s a very busy intersection for a four-way stop,” said Orem City engineer Sam Kelly.

Kelly said the city planned to expand the intersection and add traffic signals once they finish construction on a nearby water storage tank and pump station, which could take a few years.

“We knew it needed to have a signal,” Kelly said. “We thought maybe we should put it in now as opposed to waiting.”

Even before Wednesday’s auto-pedestrian crash, Kelly said the city was looking at installing temporary traffic signals using wooden poles and span wire to hang the lights.

“With the tank coming, part of that road will be shut down to one-way traffic so it’s going to be a mess for a while,” he said. “So, we were just trying to look at ways to make it safer, not just for pedestrians with that school being close, but as well as the traveling public.”

Kelly said they could install the temporary signals within a few weeks if they can get everything approved with Rocky Mountain Power and property owners.

The Utah Highway Patrol’s traffic accident team is investigating the crash.

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Orem plans temporary traffic signal at intersection where student, crossing guard hit