THAYER -- Thayer resident Bill Manes is still on his mission to keep the children of Thayer safe, especially at the intersection of Highway 63 and Highway 142.
Manes has been concerned that when the new elementary school opens this fall, children crossing that section of the highway will be in danger from the high volume of traffic, including big rigs, that run up and down the road.
Manes said he has been in contact with Missouri Depart-ment of Trans-portation district engineer Tom Stehn.
"We discussed the possibility of erecting a covered walkway over 63 Highway at the junction of Highway 142 in Thayer. His (Stehn's) thoughts were that he would call the mayor of Thayer, Allen Deckard, and set up a meeting between the three of us so we could discuss the overpass," Manes said.
The engineer told Manes that it would help if a need for such a project could be shown. This is where Manes, a retired cross country truck driver, sprang into action.
"Over the next three days I spent a total of five and one-half hours at the intersection counting traffic and pedestrians," Manes said. He added, "At the end of this period I am even more convinced that as a community we need a crosswalk. During this time period I watched hundreds of cars and pickups and several school buses drive through this intersection. But more importantly, I counted 627 commercial vehicles driving through this intersection."
Manes said during his time at the intersection he observed 36 vehicles -- 19 cars and 17 commercial vehicles -- either run the red light or accelerate in an attempt to beat the light change and fail.
"We also saw 23 pedestrians crossing 63 Highway at this intersection, 20 on foot and three on bicycles. Two of the bicycle riders ran through the intersection, and one of the people walking was an elderly lady who couldn't make it across the intersection during one light change. My thoughts were how terrifying this must have been for her," Manes said.
Manes has been busy trying to get area officials to listen to his plea for a overhead crosswalk. "Over the past two weeks I have brought this problem before the city council and mayor, also the school board and Thayer School Superintendent Bill Garrison. I have also talked to state Rep. Mike Dethrow and anyone else that will listen," Manes said. "A project like this cannot be done by one person, it is going to take the whole community. The children and anyone else that might want to cross this intersection need us. Do we as a community stand up and be counted or do we just sit around waiting on a tragedy?" he said.
Manes said anyone interested in joining him in his effort can call him at home at 264-7696.