SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - Not too far from where children play at Saucier Elementary School is a sight many people in the community have been waiting to see.
"It started blinking today. So that's a first sign of life. It is a good sign," said Saucier Elementary Principal Cindy Grimes.
The new traffic light in front of the school is now in flashing mode. It's a warning to drivers that the signal is about to go into service on Monday.
"We're getting that red light turned on. Amen girl," said Cynthia Fairley Chadwick.
Chadwick spearheaded a campaign to persuade the Mississippi Department of Transportation to install a light at Highway 49 and old Highway 67. Her beauty salon is just down the road from the dangerous intersection.
"For 10 years people were telling me, 'You're not going to get it. You're not going to get it.' And I said, 'I just can't believe that they don't care about our kids,'" Chadwick said. "We're very, very thankful. I didn't expect the light to be flashing. So, yes, I was very surprised."
Chadwick has a personal reason for pushing for a traffic light. She has seen too many car crashes there. One of the worst accidents involved a teacher who was nearly killed in front of Saucier Elementary in 2007.
"I have three children that attend there and it is very important to me that they don't see white sheets and the Jaws of Life during their school hours and worry," Chadwick said.
Their worries and frustration have been replaced with relief and excitement.
"I think if the light just brakes the speed a little bit, buses will be able to turn a little more safely and we'll be able to get all the kids in here without any problems," Grimes said.
"It's a happy sight. I'm very thrilled, excited. I'd love to have a dedication. We'll buy sparkling grape juice and throw it on the pole up there," Chadwick said.
Besides a traffic signal, MDOT also widened the turn lanes, put in new asphalt and striping, and made some drainage improvements. The project costs about $860,000.