City of Merriam Improves Roadways for Busy Commercial AreaPosted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022 by Kristen Leathers-Gratton
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The pavement on East Frontage Road had deteriorated over time, and the City of Merriam, Kansas wanted to bring the roadway up to city standards. Their goals were to improve the overall lifespan of the street and the drivability of this busy commercial area. They also wanted to increase pedestrian access and safety.
The city selected Affinis for the East Frontage Road Improvements project. It initially included the mill and overlay of East Frontage Road, Carmax Drive, and a guardrail repair. To boost pedestrian connectivity, we designed sidewalk repairs and updated the walkways to be ADA compliant. In addition, we upgraded the traffic signal at the north end intersection at 67th Street.
Aesthetic improvements were also made to East Frontage Road. Landscaping was incorporated between the highway and East Frontage on the west side of the roadway. Trees, which were removed because they were too close to the road, were replaced. Stone or rip rap was added to protect the slope. And finally, light poles were relocated near 75th Street.
We also incorporated resident feedback into the project. On Goodman Street, we had planned to perform a mill and overlay, but the city asked us to make additional changes for residents. The roadway had raised median traffic calming devices in the street, which made people slow down through the intersection. Residents didn’t like driving around them, and the city had issues plowing these streets during the winter. We worked with the City of Merriam to explain the reasoning behind the change at the public meeting. We shared the benefits of this approach and listened to any feedback the residents had.
Early in the design stages, the city decided to combine two of their internal projects with this one. They wanted to increase the project scope, so that larger contractors would bid on the work. They asked our design team to develop a single plan set. We partnered with them to produce plan sheets for the two new projects, which were not geographically connected to the original scope.
The East Frontage Road project site is located within Kansas Department of Transportation’s (KDOT) right-of-way. However, KDOT had made an arrangement with the city, leaving Merriam responsible for the upkeep of the road. To do work in this area, our team had to apply for KDOT right-of-way permits and coordinate with KDOT utilities.
The project site is also nearly 100 percent commercial. We worked closely with the property owners to determine what needed to stay open during construction. In addition, Advent Health Shawnee Mission was impacted. We had to consider how to keep East Frontage Road open for travel and not block access to the hospital. We were able to keep one lane open throughout construction by using flaggers and phased construction.
Construction for the East Frontage Road project was completed at the end of 2021. It accomplished all the city’s goals. It improved the lifespan of the roadway, safety, drivability, and pedestrian access, while not impacting existing commercial businesses.