Merriam, Kansas CARS Improvements

The City of Merriam, Kansas has made a strong commitment to maintaining their infrastructure. Every year, they seek to improve existing roadway conditions, reduce future maintenance costs, and create ADA compliant facilities for pedestrian access across Merriam.

2018 CARS Program
The city selected a portion of Johnson Drive, a highly traveled, major arterial roadway connecting several parts of the Kansas City metro area, for their 2018 program. The area had a variety of stakeholders – both residential and commercial. The west end is residential, while the east end is anchored by Merriam Drive, which is a “main street” business district. Each zone came with a unique set of challenges, relating to the characteristics of the area.

The project scope included mill and overlay with replacement of deteriorated curbs and repair of sidewalks. Adding decorative lighting streetlights and replacing two pedestrian signals were also part of the project.

The section from Merriam Drive to Kessler Lane required full-depth reconstruction. To minimize impacts on the local businesses, the street reconstruction was limited to 14 days. The Merriam Drive intersection was open in seven days to allow north/south traffic to flow along Merriam Drive. Changeable message boards were added to I-35 to let drivers know about closings on Johnson Drive. Affinis partnered with KC Scout, letting them know the construction plans for the area, so they could monitor it and communicate if a traffic problem arose.

2020 CARS Program
For the 2020 effort, we worked between the BNSF railroad tracks just west of I-35 and the eastern City limit on Johnson Drive. This complex project required collaboration with another firm, lessening impacts to residents and railroad coordination. Meeting each of these goals, we were able to provide cost-savings and aesthetic improvements to the area.

One of the most significant aspects was defined early in our work together. The city combined this Johnson Drive project with work along Mastin Street, which was designed by another firm. Working together, we combined the projects into one, saving the city money on construction.

Merriam also wanted to ensure impacts to residents were minimal. In fact, our team was tasked with preserving a historic stone wall. To do this, we coordinated closely with the city, homeowner, and contractor, modifying our designs to keep it in place. We also boosted area aesthetics by providing landscaping plans for one of the medians on Johnson Drive.

This section of roadway also interacts with the railroad. Affinis coordinated construction efforts during a BNSF track window for two days on Main Track 1. The existing conditions required the tracks be raised approximately 2 inches to create a smooth transition with the newly paved road surface. To minimize closure time and inconvenience to residents, the work near the railroad was timed to coincide with when BNSF was doing maintenance on the tracks.

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