Tri-City school districts and city officials want residents to prepare for road changes near school zones as classes begin Aug. 30.
Drivers should make sure they follow traffic laws, which include not speeding past 20 mph in designated school zones.
“Those lights are going to be flashing,” said Aubrey Pitzer, safety and risk manager for the Pasco School District. “It can happen pretty quick for a kid to dart out in front of a car.”
Drivers should keep an eye on their surroundings, Pitzer said. Parents should also look for the safest walking routes available, with well-marked crosswalks.
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The Pasco School District will send notices of the safest walking routes to parents before school starts, Pitzer said.
“If we funnel people through a certain walking route, then we minimize risk,” she said.
Drivers should not pass or try to pass a stopped school bus until children are done boarding or leaving, Pitzer said.
In Richland, Thayer Drive will be open when school begins Aug. 30, but Duportail Street will remain closed.
Duportail Street, which is near school zones close to Sagebrush and Marcus Whitman elementary schools, will close from the intersection of Wright Avenue up to Thayer Drive.
Anyone who chooses to walk across Duportail Street should be aware of construction and uneven surfaces. Parents and students are encouraged to consider alternate routes, Richland city officials said.
The Kennewick School District will offer bus rides this year for students to avoid road construction around newer schools, said Steve Jones, principal at Desert Hills Middle School.
Crews will continue to work on sidewalks and roads on Clodfelter Road, where the new Desert Hills is located, and the surrounding areas up to April or May, said Kennewick School District Superintendent Dave Bond.
2016-17 school bus routes
Links below are for the bus routes for Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Finley, Columbia (Burbank) and Prosser school districts for the 2016-17 school year: