3/28/2014 10:35:00 AM Q: Why do school zone lights still flash at Oak Ridge Elementary and Oak Ridge Military Academy on days that school is scheduled to be closed?
A: At the beginning of each school year, the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is given a school schedule for the coming year and the equipment that operates the flashing lights is programmed to reflect this schedule.
Pat Wilson, division operations engineer for the NCDOT in Greensboro, says unless they are notified in advance by the school, the flashing lights are not reprogrammed to accommodate schedule changes. In order to make any changes, a staff member must go to the specific location.
"Our Greensboro office is responsible for five counties," says Wilson. "We use the school schedule that's been determined in August and we rely on the school system to tell us if there's been a change. We don't have the staff to make real-time changes (for instance, when schools are closed for inclement weather)."
Wilson says the flashers at the Oak Ridge Military Academy are set up differently than the county's public schools. These flash constantly from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. It's a safety issue for cadets navigating the campus that straddles N.C. 150.