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Midvale parents, kids warned about I-15 and TRAX projects

The children at Midvale Elementary are in double jeopardy from the transportation improvements under way along the Wasatch Front.

Just to the east of their school on Midvale's Center Street, the Utah Transit Authority is building TRAX, its light-rail system. And just to the west, the massive I-15 reconstruction is in full swing.The school colors could be barricade orange and warning-light yellow; its mascot, the construction crane.

To try to head off the accidents that seem to proliferate around construction areas, the school's 650 students had a special safety assembly in December.

Representatives from UTA, Wasatch Constructors, various law enforcement agencies, school crossing guards and others emphasized safety tips.

On Wednesday, it was the parents' turn.

The school's community council sponsored a safety assembly aimed at parents, and some 120 from the surrounding neighborhood showed up to see the program, presented in Spanish and English to reflect the school's multi-ethnic population.

Brian Mauldwin of Wasatch Constructors, the consortium rebuilding I-15, reminded students and their parents of the four primary safety rules:

- Look up; look around when you're walking, watch for hazards.

- Look out for others; point out hazards to them.

- Spread the word; tell family and friends about the projects.

- Careful, kids; it's better to be safe than sorry.

"It's a good turnout," said Dave Fair, co-chairman of the community council. "The parents are seeing the impacts of the I-15 construction, the TRAX project and the UTA busing changes.

"We wanted to give the community an opportunity to come in and ask questions.

"I would have liked to see 500 people turn out," said Fair. "It's an important issue. But then I'm happy to see 120 come out and involve themselves in the community."

Fair said there have been no serious accidents involving Midvale Elementary students because of the two construction programs, "but we've had a few pedestrian accidents on Center Street and quite a few close calls.

"With all that's going on on State Street and 700 East, it's a major concern for us."