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Athens students are heading back to class on Tuesday, Aug. 13, which means increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic around school zones.
Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said motorists should use extreme caution and expect delays for the first seven to 10 days of the school year. Johnson said there will be bus traffic, parents driving students to school and students walking to school.
“You have new students and new parents who will be getting used to their school’s traffic pattern,” he said. “You will also have new student drivers at the high school. Motorists need to be alert, slow down and have patience.”
Johnson said traffic on Alabama 251 will increase with the start of school, especially with the Forrest Street bridges replacement project ongoing. He encourages motorists who can to consider an alternate route.
The chief asks motorists to take into consideration the following as they plan their commutes:
● All motorists must stop for buses when the stop sign is extended.
● Athens Bible School on U.S. 31 has been in session with classes starting there at 8 a.m.
● Athens High School across from Athens Bible will open its doors at 7:45 a.m. and ring the bell to start school at 8 a.m. Those later than 8:15 a.m. are tardy.
● Athens Middle School on U.S. 31 south of these two campuses will open doors at 7:30 a.m. and ring the bell to start at 8 a.m.
● Those exiting Athens Middle School from the north part of the campus will have to turn north. Athens Police will have U.S. 31 medians near the old Kmart building closed.
● Those traveling east on Pryor Street and turning north on U.S. 31 need to remember that oncoming traffic from Alabama 251 has the right of way, and motorists turning north must yield.
● Another change this year to remember is Athens Elementary students will be using the Clinton Street campus as the school system prepares to build a new elementary school.
“Morning traffic will be the most congested, but motorists also need to remember that traffic will pick up in the early afternoon when school lets out,” Johnson said. “These first few days, children will be excited and may not pay as close attention before crossing a road, so we ask that motorists be extra vigilant as we get back to school.”