Thursday, May 20, 2010

Residents Get a Look at Future Red Bridge Project

(click on image for a larger view)

By Seann McAnally

Kansas City is seeking public input on designs for the second phase of Red Bridge Road improvements, and took their designs on the road last week to gather opinions. The improvements would run along Red Bridge from Blue River Rd. to Grandview Rd.

About 100 local residents attended the May 11 open house at Grace Point Baptist Church.

Sean Demory, communications manager with the Kansas City Capital Projects Office, showed residents proposed designs (see illustration on page 3), but stressed that it’s early in the project.

“These are still very much preliminary designs,” Demory said.

So preliminary, he said, that the project isn’t even funded yet.

“One thing to keep in mind is that funds have not been made available for construction,” he explained. “So at this point, we’re strictly on the design side of things.”

In general, residents were pleased with those designs – but that didn’t stop some from proposing minor tweaks to the plans.

“On the whole, I think it will be a great project,” said Vernon Wilson, president of the Terrace Lake Gardens homeowners association. “But we’d like to see some changes.”

Wilson said his HOA would like to see utility lines buried – the current plan calls for above-ground lines. He also has some concerns about traffic flow. Wilson also said many of his neighbors feel the city should install a stop light at Red Bridge Rd. and Jackson Rd. He said they also have doubts about a proposed roundabout at Blue River Rd. and Red Bridge Rd.

“Some of us have concerns about whether that can handle the traffic,” Wilson said, adding that many people are uncomfortable with roundabouts.

Finally, he said, nearby residents have told him they’re worried that trash and chemicals could get into nearby Terrace Lake, so Wilson asked city officials to think about installing some sort of filtration system to prevent that.

Others are dead-set against the project.

Teresa Edens, a former member of the Hickman Mills Board of Education, said she felt most residents in the area don’t like what’s happening to Red Bridge Rd.

“I still believe that the whole project is totally unnecessary,” she said. “They’re totally ruining the neighborhood. People like the country feel. This whole thing is a waste of money.”

Demory said he values all opinions – even those who are adamantly opposed to the project. Nevertheless, he said, the city is moving forward.

“What’s happening now is we’re collecting responses from the citizens, and we’re including those comments in the design work we’re doing,” Demory said. “We hope to complete the designs by late fall of this year. Then we’ll have a second open house, and at that point it will be in the hands of the City Council to find funding options.”

The first phase of Red Bridge improvements – which include the section from Holmes Rd. to Blue River Rd., including a new bridge over the Blue River and Union Pacific railroad tracks – have been under construction since March of this year, and is expected to be complete in October 2011.

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