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DOT activates new crosswalk device in Minocqua today

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MINOCQUA, Wis. (WSAU) - Drivers and pedestrians in Minocqua will see a new device on southbound Highway 51 today: a specially lighted crosswalk.

It's called a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon, and it's there to help keep drivers and pedestrians apart. State Traffic Signal Systems engineer Joanna Bush says it's like a railroad crossing for people where the light will signal that people are wanting to cross the street. "During the solid red portion, the pedestrian will see the walking man symbol light up, and they're able to proceed across the highway."

After the pedestrian clears the intersection, the lights will flash back and forth in a "wig-wag" to let drivers know that they can proceed onward. Bush says sometimes drivers need a little help knowing that people are waiting to cross. "Sometimes it's real easy to not notice, so this beacon helps to control people in a stopping condition instead of a yielding condition."

The new beacons, also known as HAWKs, are going up in a number of Wisconsin communities where people have to walk across busy highways.

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