Flashing yellow school zone signs planned at intersection of Messer & Opechee streets

LACONIA — City officials are moving quickly to place signage warning motorists they may encounter students as they approach the intersection of Messer Street and Opechee Street, where Lily Johnson lost her life and Alyssa Miner was severely injured when they were struck by an SUV last month.
Within days of the tragedy, the City Council, on the recommendation of the Police Commission, directed City Manager Scott Myers to oversee the installation of appropriate signals. Yesterday Myers informed city councilors and school officials that, after discussions with a traffic consultant, solar-powered signs designating a school zone fitted with a flashing yellow beacons have been chosen. The signals can be programmed and set to operate during specific spans of time in the morning and afternoon.
State law requires motorists to reduce their speed in designated school zones when children are present and/or warning signs are flashing. The speed in these zones is 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. Currently the posted speed limit on Messer Street is 30 mph.
Specifications are being prepared to solicit accurate bids. Myers said that in place of the normal bidding process, Jon Gardner, the city purchasing agent, will contact qualified vendors directly, leaving them "a very short turnaround time for response." He said that bases and poles, which are prefabricated stock items, will likely be installed before the flashing beacons.
"Everyone is working diligently to move this along as quickly as possible," Myers stressed.