Parts of Keystone reopen, reducing congestion

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By Laura Peng
<lpeng@hilite.org>

Last year, senior Katelyn Strout was driving to school on a Wednesday PLC late start when she hit traffic on 131st Street. After half an hour, she finally made it to school 15 minutes late. But she wasn’t counted tardy. Why not?

Construction on 126th Street had recently begun, and most drivers who usually took 126th had to filter onto 131st, resulting in a hold up.

“I had no idea it would take me so long to get to school. It usually takes me just around 10 to 15 minutes, but instead, there was a huge line, and I didn’t get to class on time,” Strout said.

Since the Keystone Reconstruction Project first began in 2008, students have had to work around a schedule consisting of closings and reparations. According to Keystone Project Manager Jeremy Kashman, school traffic taken into consideration when planning road closings.

“We worked to make sure that the impact on students and school traffic minimal. We scheduled the closings of 131st and 136th at different times since both feed directly to the
high school. We are working to make sure only one school year will be affected, opposed to two,” Kashman said.

According to Project Carmel Link, lowering Keystone and providing roundabout interchanges at each major cross street will provide safer intersections and increased mobility for drivers. In addition, facilities are being added to eliminate the barrier that has blocked pedestrian traffic.

“The connection features of the project benefit in a couple different ways,” Kashman said. “Most importantly, replacing stoplights with roundabouts has obvious proven safety benefits. It’ll also save fuel and provide pedestrian crossings.”

Strout says that driving has been more efficient since 106th and 126th streets opened back up in April. “Since I’m not keeping track of when roads are closing and opening, it seems easier just to ride the bus each morning and not have to worry about figuring out a new way to get to school every few weeks,” she said.

“I know I’ll be driving a lot more after everything is finished,” Strout said. “But cutting down on driving has saved me a bunch of money, so I’m sure I can stick it out a while longer. I’m just hoping it will be worth it in the end.”

CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

106th and 126th intersections: open April 18, 2009
116th and Carmel Drive: open fall of 2010
131st and Keystone: open fall of 2010
136th and Keystone: open August 1, 2009
All construction to be completed by 2010

CARMELLINK.ORG / SOURCE

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