Construction of high-tech crosswalk at busy Los Banos intersection begins this week

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Hundreds of drivers rush through Mercey Springs Road to get to where they need to go, but it's also a busy spot for pedestrians. Caltrans says there will soon be a solution. (KFSN)

When school is out, hundreds of students from Los Banos High use a crosswalk on Mercey Springs Road to walk home.

At the same time, hundreds of drivers are rushing through the same street to get to where they need to go, but Caltrans says there will soon be a solution - a new hawk crosswalk that benefits both drivers and pedestrians.

"It only operates when there's a pedestrian present," Warren Alford with Caltrans said. "It doesn't stop traffic unless someone is there and needs to cross."

This is the first pedestrian hybrid safety beacon for the Los Banos area. Alford says the lights remain off and allows traffic to flow until a pedestrian needs to cross.

"They actually have an opportunity to cross with a red light, then when the pedestrians clear, it actually allows for a flashing red," he explained. "When the crosswalk clears the motorists can go through, so it's efficient for motorists and safer for pedestrians."

Currently, the intersection doesn't have any traffic lights or crossing signals. Los Banos police say, luckily, there hasn't been any major incidents but have gotten calls with concerns regarding intersection so they contacted Caltrans.

"You add an extra layer when you talk about the youth being out in the community," Los Banos Police Chief Gary Brizee said. "Children under 18 are crossing this busy road, and they need to be able to do it safely."

Mercey Springs Road is also between Interstate 5 and Highway 99. Los Banos School District officials say this will hopefully alert drivers to stop ahead of time.

"Knowing this crosswalk is going in and improve from what we have," Paul Enos with the district said. "I think it puts people's mind at ease."

Caltrans says construction for the new crosswalk is expected to start on Thursday.
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