Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Red Bridge Road Improvements

Work is well underway on the new bridge over the Blue River on Red Bridge Road. the next phase of the improvements to the road is to add sidewalks and bike paths and widen Red Bridge Road from Blue River Road to Grandview Road to three lanes, giving drivers a left hand turn lane. An open house was held yesterday at the Grace Point Baptist Church. Plans were on display and engineers and others involved in the planning were available to talk to about the project.

The plan is to use as scenic material as possible to make the roadway look nice, since it is a neighborhood street and not a free way. What exactly will be used depends on the available funds.

Because of the rolling hills in the area (this is one part of the KC metro that is not flat!), drainage issues have required a lot of engineering thought. To the left: Cleveland Ave will gain two turn lanes when it intersects with Red Bridge. Storm drains will be improved. A home owner talked to the engineers about how the rain currently runs through her property--he took notes. The engineers seemed really interested to listen to the concerns raised by some of the residents, especially drainage issues.
At the intersection of Blue River Road and Red Bridge, we could have a rotary (traffic circle) instead of signal lights. Plus: traffic could flow better, and trucks could not use the circle, thus limiting truck traffic. Minus: Drivers around here are still trying to figure out the newish circles on Longview Road. My first instinct--ooh no circles, but making passage for trucks difficult has a lot of appeal...Opinions on traffic circles welcome! I really was kind of surprised they were even up for consideration.
An engineer answers residents' questions about the current work going on on the bridge project proper. The visual change wrought by the construction I think caused a lot of concerns for people. This project was also very complicated engineering. They've had to move a sewer line, create drainage to draw off contaminants before they enter the river, and restore wetland areas that had to be compromised by bridge construction.
Funding for this work to add sidewalks and widen the road has not yet been obtained. The plan is being constructed in three phases; as funding is obtained, a phase will start. The plans are hoped to be final this summer. It's kind of a disappointing site, as it does not have any of the pictures of the plans on it, but you can find more information on The construction will be a pain in the neck, but this is an idea whose time has come. Even if IHOP foot and bike traffic is reduced when the ministry moves to Grandview, it will still enhance safety to get walkers and bikers off the roadway. The left hand turn lane will help with traffic flow. I am worried, as were many attendees at the Open House, about increased 435 bypass traffic and trucks with the improvements. Maybe they can put traffic circle driving lessons on the City Access Channel.

As per usual, click on the pictures to see them bigger. Click the back button to come back.


Tom Morse-Brown said...

Yeah I feel the improvements will be good but I fear too that the traffic volume will go up. Maybe they should put bumps in the road to slow traffic down. Do you know if they're still going ahead with the Red Bridge Road widening?

Anonymous said...

Now that the bridge is completed, maybe time for another report from the Observer? How close are we to a Phase II? How has traffic been affected? The traffic circle idea seems wonderful news if true: they're safer and faster than intersections. As someone who's been driven into on Red Bridge Road while trying to turn, this project can't happen too soon!