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Crossing the street at many Saskatoon intersections will remain a hands-free operation for the foreseeable future.

Approximately 260 of the city’s nearly 300 traffic signals have been automated as a COVID-19 precaution, meaning they switch to a walk signal without having to push the button.

The city converted 59 high-use pedestrian intersections and 200 other intersections in April in order to limit pedestrians’ contact with shared surfaces.

The buttons remain in place for people with visual impairments who rely on audible signals activated through the buttons.

In a statement, City of Saskatoon transportation engineering manager David LeBoutillier said there’s no time frame for when the signals will return to their previous operation, or whether they will remain automatic permanently.

“Recent discussion of community spread of the COVID-19 virus suggests removing or mitigating potential physical contacts remains a prudent measure to help reduce the risks of spread in our community,” he said.