City, Mansfield ISD Celebrate Completion of $18 Million Tri-Schools Road Project

On Friday, Arlington and Mansfield city and school leaders celebrated the completion of the $18 million Tri-Schools Street Improvement Project in southwest Arlington.

The project, part of the 2008 bond program, consists of street, sidewalk, 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.

Articles TriSchools 04-08-16 03
During a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams praised the Public Works and Transportation and the Water Utilities departments, the Mansfield Independent School District and the contractors Jackson Construction for working together to finish the massive rebuild project earlier than scheduled.

“There are so many great success stories associated with this project,” Williams said. “First of all, finishing five months early is a big success story.”

Sheri Capehart, Arlington City Council District 2 representative, said the Tri-Schools Street Improvement Project wasn’t on the list of proposed projects for the 2008 bond election until citizens petitioned the City make the narrow, two-lane asphalt roads safer for both vehicles and pedestrians.

“These were rural roadways out here with steep bar ditches. What happened was the school buses trying to make those sharp turns often times couldn’t make it, particularly if there was a vehicle in the other lane going in the other direction. That became a traffic snarl,” Capehart said. “Two or three times the rear wheels of the schools buses actually went off into the ditches. Thank God no one was hurt but that was a real wake up call.”

Articles TriSchool 04-08-16 01

As part of a public health service project, TCU nursing students in 2008 conducted several surveys to gauge students’ ability to walk and bike to school safely in the Tri-Schools area. After collecting their data, the nursing students urged community and city leaders to build sidewalks and make other safety improvements.

Sharon Canclini, the TCU assistant professor of professional practice, said it is so rewarding to see her students’ project become reality. Canclini said the nursing students plan to return to the Tri-Schools area to provide additional bicycling and pedestrian safety training for the community.

“Now it is safe. The children can walk and bike, which is on the things that helps improve grades. We’ve got to get our children back outside again,” Canclini said.

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

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 landscaped 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.

The Tri-Schools project also includes improvements on Curry Road between Winthorp Drive and Blake Drive to improve a limited sight distance issue. Drainage, sanitary sewer improvements, and street restoration were 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.

Construction to extend Harris Road between Calender and Ledbetter roads is still underway.

Raul Gonzalez, Mansfield ISD Trustee Vice President, applauded the City of Arlington for working with the Mansfield school district to improve mobility, safety and draining issues.

“The traffic was really slow and really bad. The roads were really narrow,” Gonzalez said. “There were major draining issues. The kids were walking in the ditches to get away from the cars. The ditches were always full of mud. They were getting their feet wet.”

Capehart said the street improvement project will also help keep up with the growing traffic demands for southwest Arlington, which she called the epicenter for new residential housing growth in the City.

New housing developments are underway in the Tri-Schools area, not only helping to increase property values but to bring even more families to Arlington and the Mansfield School District, Capehart said.

“All of this has to do with the quality of schools we have out here and the fact that children can walk to three schools until they get to high school,” Capehart said. “I expect we are going to see a lot of young families moving into this neighborhood and driving on these streets.”

Articles Trischools 04-08-16 02