Archive for Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lenexa to improve 83rd Street intersection before new school opens

December 14, 2006

Construction along Mize Road may hinder traffic temporarily next year, but it will make the street much safer when Mill Creek Middle School opens in August.

The new middle school to the northeast side of the intersection of Mize Road and 83rd Street will be the De Soto School District's first in the city of Lenexa. Students from western Lenexa already attend De Soto's schools, and the new Mill Creek school will likely have students from Lenexa, De Soto and Shawnee, although boundaries have not yet been decided.

Tim Green, construction engineer with the city of Lenexa, said a project at the intersection could make the streets safer for the influx of new families using the roads for travel to school next year. A project currently in the city's capital improvement plan would put $2.33 million into lowering the hill east of the intersection about six feet on 83rd Street.

"We're in the process of acquiring the right of way from adjacent property owners," Green said. "Our plan is an interim measure. We're not going in there and creating a four-lane road on Mize, but we're cutting the grade."

Green said a steep hill on 83rd Street made for difficult visibility for drivers.

"There is poor sight distance," he said. "When you're on Mize looking south, cars are coming fast enough that they have a hard time stopping if you pull out in front of them. This gives cars a better chance of seeing what's coming down the road."

Green said work would start on the intersection in February or March once the city obtained right-of-way and bid the projects. Traffic would be rerouted during construction so 83rd Street would continue to be a through street to Kansas Highway 7. However, it could temporarily cut off Mize Road during street improvements.

"There will be a period when Mize to the south will be closed; then we'll flip-flop and close it to the north," Green said.

Lenexa city officials are looking at a traffic study to determine if a traffic signal is needed at the intersection. Currently, stop signs halt traffic at Mize Road.

"A lot of that depends on some of the projected foot traffic to the school," Green said.

Future plans for the area include lengthening Mize Road to Prairie Star Parkway, building in roundabouts at 79th and Mize and in front of the school, and installing a traffic signal at 83rd and Mize.

Green said, however, growth would determine when those improvements were scheduled. Because these future developments aren't on Lenexa's five-year CIP, they could come after 2010.

Green said the traffic study could be completed by early January.

The school district added a right turn lane from Mize into the new Mill Creek Middle School parking lot.

"We know eventually it will warrant a signal," he said of the 83rd and Mize intersection. "We just don't know how many kids, if any, will have that walk."

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