$18 Million Tri-Schools Street Improvement Project Completed Early

Articles-TriSchools-Street-03-09-16 (2)

The $18 million Tri-schools road project in southwest Arlington is expected to be substantially complete by April, about five months earlier than scheduled. It’s another example of dreams getting done in the American Dream City.

Although some minor work still remains to be done, all sections of Ledbetter Road, Calender Road and Russell Road were reopened this week to two-way traffic.

The Tri-schools project, part of the 2008 bond program, consists of street, drainage, water and sanitary sewer improvements to Calender, Ledbetter and Russell roads near Carol Holt Elementary School, Cross Timbers Intermediate School and T.A Howard Middle School.

Residents in southwest Arlington, which is in City Council District 2, successfully petitioned the City to improve the narrow, two-lane asphalt roads, which were lined with ditches and limited sidewalks.

“The whole idea was to make it safer for the children, making sure they had sidewalks on both sides of the roads so they could walk to school safely,” said Keith Brooks, Engineering Operations Manager for Public Works and Transportation. “Also, the roadways needed to be rebuilt. We got all of that done in one project.”

Construction began in April 2014. Drivers faced months of lane closures and detours while contractors completely rebuilt Ledbetter Road between Curry and Russell roads, Russell Road between Ledbetter and Calender roads and Calender Road between Monthaven and Harris roads with reinforced concrete and curbs.

The project also added traffic roundabouts at the intersections of Calender Road and Russell Road and Calender Road and West Harris Road.  Drivers are encouraged to slow down to 25 mph or slower in the roundabout and to yield to pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles already circulating.

“It’s a traffic calming measure. It slows people down,” said Bob Watson, Civil Engineer with Public Works and Transportation. “You have fewer accidents and it facilitates kids being able to walk to school safely. It also keeps traffic moving at a steady pace without having to stop at a stop sign.” The Tri-Schools project also includes improvements on Curry Road between Winthorp Drive and Blake Drive to improve a limited sight distance issue.

Articles TriSchool Roundabout 03-09-16

Drainage, sanitary sewer improvements, and street restoration were also included on Blue Forest Road between Ledbetter Road and Harris Road. Finally, sanitary sewer improvements and pavement restorations were included on Truver Lane at Green Mere Drive.

The Trischools Street Improvement Project is an example of the Arlington City Council’s commitment to enhancing regional mobility.

Raul Gonzalez, Mansfield School Board Vice President, said residents he has heard from in the Trischools area are ecstatic about the improvements.

The best part is that school-age children no longer have to walk in ditches along the side of a narrow road to get to class, he said.

“For the students, it was so scary back then. Cars and buses weren’t safe. Fortunately, no one ever got hurt but it caused a lot of traffic concerns,” said Gonzalez, who praised the City of Arlington’s efforts to involve the Mansfield school district and the community during the project. “It’s a lot better for the kids to walk to school on the new sidewalks. I’m glad it finally happened and they don’t have to walk in a ditch.”

Arlington residents have another reason to celebrate. The contractors, Jackson Construction, were able to complete the project months ahead of schedule due in large part to the increased manpower they committed to the project, Watson said. With a $500 bonus for every day ahead of schedule, the contractor will walk away with approximately $60,000 in incentives.

“We feel that’s the cost of not having that one-way traffic for an additional five months. It’s good for us,” said Watson, adding that the contractor would have been penalized $500 for every day past the construction deadline. “They almost doubled their workforce for a long time out there. In the end, it benefits the residents.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is expected to be held in early April to celebrate the project’s completion. The Public Works and Transportation Department would like to thank residents and the Mansfield Independent School District for their cooperation and patience during the project.

Articles TriSchools Streets 2 03-09-16

Construction crews are close to wrapping up work on the Tri-Schools Street Improvement Project in Southwest Arlington.
Photo Credit: Landon Hearne