In anticipation of a major sewer repair project that will have the intersection of First and Forest avenues in Riverside tied up for more than a year, Police Chief Thomas Weitzel has announced a change in the way students will cross the streets there in the mornings and afternoons.

Beginning April 1, the north sidewalk along Forest Avenue west of Groveland Avenue will be closed to pedestrians. Students heading toward First Avenue will be directed to the south sidewalk at Groveland.

A crossing guard will assist students across First Avenue and a second crossing guard will assist students north across Ridgewood Road once they reach the west side of First Avenue. Weitzel said signs and fencing will be erected to help direct pedestrians.

Scores of Riverside residents attending Riverside-Brookfield High School and Brookfield residents attending Hauser Junior High School in Riverside cross First Avenue at Forest/Ridgewood each school day.

The change is being made to accommodate a project to repair the Salt Creek Intercepting Sewer No. 2, which stretches north from Forest Avenue along First Avenue to about Roosevelt Road.

At Forest Avenue, the sewer heads both east and west. Construction equipment will be placed on the north side of Forest Avenue east of First Avenue, where a sewer bypass will be placed to allow the sewer to operate while work is taking place.

A similar plan to cross students at First and Forest was implemented in 2014 when the MWRD constructed an access shaft in preparation for the sewer repair project.

“We’ll deploy extra personnel as construction ramps up,” said Riverside Police Lt. William Gutschick. “We’ve already hired an additional crossing guard. Be prepared for additional changes as construction progresses.”