City of Independence, MO Increases Safety for Pedestrians along US-40 HighwayPosted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022 by Affinis Corp
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The City of Independence, Missouri has high pedestrian traffic along US-40 Highway. This 4-lane, undivided roadway has wide shoulders, which people were using to access area businesses from the surrounding neighborhoods. The city wanted to increase safety by adding sidewalks.
Affinis was selected by Independence for the US-40 Highway Complete Streets project. Improvements were designed for the north side of the roadway. Collaborating closely with the city, we designed new sidewalks, a stormwater system, and prepared the area for a bike lane.
Increasing safety was top of mind for the entire team. We added a pedestrian signal at Blue Ridge on the north side. Then, we reconfigured the island at the Sterling intersection, so it would accept a sidewalk crossing. We are also adding concrete pads at the numerous bus stops along this route. Previously, bus riders had to wait on the shoulder or in the grass.
Stormwater improvements were another critical component of this project. Originally, this section had an open ditch storm sewer system with some inlets and a 10-foot wide shoulder. The city wanted to add curb and gutter and sidewalk, while leaving the open ditch. However, they decided to enclose the ditch and install an enclosed storm sewer system. They did this to get the existing pipes under US-40. When performing the design, we had to think creatively, as some of the pipes were older and didn’t follow the same standards used today.
Making these changes was challenging. The existing, oddly-shaped culverts were skewed under the highway with the majority having the headwalls near intersections. Also, with the widening of the highway over time, the headwalls were at the edge of the shoulder. To tie the existing culverts into the new storm sewer system, the smaller culverts were extended using pipes that were connected to the culverts by pipe collars. The larger culverts were extended, and junction boxes were designed to fit around the oddly-shaped culverts.
Many of the businesses in the area have multiple driveways entering onto the highway. To improve traffic flow, our team performed some access management. We moved some driveways up and closed others. Each will be reconstructed to make them ADA compliant.
The US-40 Highway Complete Streets project will help move the City of Independence forward. Once built, it will increase safety in the area for pedestrians. Currently under construction, it is expected to be completed next spring.