MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
The new Monzen district crosswalk construction is scheduled to be completed within the coming month.
Traffic will be brought to one lane in scheduled locations for up to a day during the final stages of construction.
The new crosswalk is being constructed in hopes of expediting traffic through Monzen during morning and afternoon hours and to improve safety for those who use the crosswalk.
Although a button activating the lights will be available, the new crosswalk will feature sensors that will activate the crosswalk lights without requiring a button push.
“You have to be cautious when crossing the bridge because you’re entering a family-housing area,” said Kirby Franklin, family housing director. “We have families with children who live and play there. Sometimes when the kids are playing they aren’t too observant.”
In its current state, the crosswalk is also known for causing a treacherous gridlock.
“From the time I reach the Monzen gate to the time I get home is 11 minutes,” said Franklin. “It takes me 15 to 20 minutes to get to the gate after work. It takes longer to drive half the station than it does to drive 7 kilometers, just because of the bottleneck. If we eliminate the need for a stop sign, traffic will flow much more smoothly.”
Provost Marshal’s Office Marines stand as directors for traffic during peak hours, waving vehicles through in an expedient fashion and providing better security for pedestrians in order to process traffic in a timely manner.
“The safety of the kids is one of the main reasons we’re out here,” said Lance Cpl. Justin M. Biddle, PMO special reactions team Marine. “You can’t be too careful when it comes to making sure families on station are safe.”
The new crosswalk will feature lights placed in the ground, as well as the customary flashing lights on the poles next to the road.
“It may be freezing cold, but I would rather be here than have someone get hurt,” said Biddle. “I look forward to seeing the crosswalk up and running, though. We aren’t out here all the time. It’ll be nice to know that even when we aren’t here, Monzen residents will be safe.”
The main part of the crosswalk system has already been installed. Remaining construction is scheduled to be no longer than a week once it has begun.