The City of Lee’s Summit Makes Ward Road Safer for All Users

Posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 by
In Transportation Engineering, tagged in
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The City of Lee’s Summit wanted to improve Ward Road, an arterial on the southwest side of the city, to increase the safety for all users. Pedestrian access was incomplete, and it didn’t easily accommodate cyclists alongside vehicles.

They asked our team to redesign the conversion of the two-lane ditch section road, using their standards. This meant upgrading it to a three-lane, curb and gutter section with a center left turn lane to make accessing side streets easier. Before beginning design, we reviewed traffic counts. That data helped us determine the 3 to 4-lane section would handle traffic now, as well as for the next 30 years. By applying value engineering strategies, we ensured Ward Road wasn’t over built.

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Ward Road before the improvements

Throughout the design and construction phases, erosion control was an important consideration. Ward Road is adjacent to Raintree Lake, and a nearby creek that feeds into it. We installed turbidity curtains at the lake’s entrance to help keep sediment out of the lake. Outlet drainage structures were placed on the west side of the road, so collected runoff could daylight into the upstream basins, preventing sediment from entering the lake.

The project site was multi-jurisdictional. To make the improvements, we coordinated with the city, as well as unincorporated Cass County. We also worked closely with city owned utilities, a rural water district, and public utilities. Based on the timing of the project, we were able to coordinate a line upgrade with Cass County Rural Water District 7. Consolidating the work into one project meant residents gained improved infrastructure with minimal disruption.

In addition to these entities, we communicated regularly with the Raintree Lake Property Owners Association and their board of directors. We worked to keep them informed of the project, as well as how we would address their erosion control concerns. Our team attended multiple board meetings, gave presentations, and held special public meetings for the entire corridor. During construction, the POA had a project running simultaneously. They were doing maintenance dredging of the lake. We provided access to their team throughout construction.

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When making these improvements, the city chose to use all concrete pavement, because it requires less long-term maintenance. They added LED street lights to improve visibility and integrated a 10-foot walking trail within the city limits. The roadway is part of a larger bike trail, so creating a safe environment for bicyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles was a top priority for the city. Adding an enclosed storm sewer system was another integral part of the scope. The new design makes maintenance easier for residents. Overall, the project incorporated design elements that will save city dollars with less maintenance calls.

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The improvements on Ward Road provide safer access for the entire community, connecting it in new ways. Now, there is a smooth riding surface to the north and south for cyclists. Pedestrian access is complete for the area, and vehicles can reach adjacent roads more safely and efficiently.

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