Improvements being made to U.S. 56 cause delays
Those driving along U.S. Highway 56 in front of the new elementary school will more than likely have to sit in construction for awhile.
Only one lane remains open in front of Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate as crews make improvements to the highway.
Shoeb Uddin, project manager and design engineer for CP Engineers and Land Surveyors of Topeka, said the highway is being widened and turn lanes are being added to help traffic flow in front of the school.
Until the project is completed in mid-August, before the start of school, Uddin said, the highway will be reduced to one lane of traffic for about 1/2 mile. Vehicles will be required to stop as traffic from the opposite direction comes through the construction.
He said the decision to make the improvements on the 2,000 feet of highway was made after CP Engineers completed a traffic impact analysis last year. The traffic study, he said, showed upgrades needed to be completed for safety and to reduce traffic congestion.
"It's going to be much safer," he said. "It'll help in the safety of the traffic and will maintain an uninterrupted traffic flow."
As part of the project, he said, a left-turn lane is being added for westbound traffic.
"Based on my conversation with Superintendent (James) White, most of the traffic is coming from the east," he said. "An extra left turn lane is going to work for safety and at the same time, it will not slow down through traffic."
He said a deceleration lane and an acceleration lane are also being added on the south side of the highway for eastbound traffic going in and out of the school parking lot.
Uddin said the 55 mph speed limit, which was in place before the new school was built, will not decrease once the improvements are complete.
"The state did not want to reduce the speed limit through there," he said. "That's one reason we're doing the improvements, to maintain the speed limit."