HEBER, CA (13 on Your Side) - Kids in Heber who have been forced to cross a busy highway will soon be able to walk to school safely.
The city is installing crosswalk signs and solar-powered safety beacons to ensure drivers stop for kids to cross the street.
Diahna Garcia-Ruiz, with the Heber Elementary School District, says ever since the Imperial Valley Mall was built on Dogwood Road - traffic on Heber Road has increased - and drivers speed their way through.
"Pretty fast, pretty fast. They do not follow the 25 miler per hour."
Gutierrez-Ruiz says, as a mother she fears for the safety of her children.
"I worry. Every time they're gone and I know that they're going to that church or going to Kennedy's Market to get something to drink or they're expecting a package and they're going to the post office – and I hear sirens – I panic."
Up to 1,300 kids cross the intersection of Heber Avenue and State Route 86, twice a day to get to school, with no signs to slow down traffic.
And as a school board member, Gutierrez-Ruiz worries for the student's safety too.
"K-4th sits on the North side of Highway 86 – Dogwood Elementary. Heber Elementary sits south of highway 86. So no matter where you live, you will cross that street."
Today, Senator Ben Hueso presented the plan- to Heber residents - to install crosswalk signs and solar-powered safety lights.
The safety signs cost $500,000 and were funded through the state.
"We have to continue to emphasize the importance for people to slow down to be safe drivers and to be aware of the immediate surroundings."
It took two years of constant pleading to the state - but residents like Ascencion Gutierrez say they're glad these signs will be up - making drivers more aware of kids and other pedestrians.
"A mi me da gusto que vayan a poner eso para que gente mire por que se puso.
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