Work will improve traffic problems in two Boyle schools

June 29, 2004|TODD KLEFFMAN

Students at Junction City and Perryville elementary schools may be enjoying summer vacation but crews are hard at work to complete construction projects designed to making dropping off and picking up students safer and smoother at both schools.

The work under way at both schools is similar and meant to ease long-standing traffic flow and parking problems. When the jobs are finished, the new traffic patterns will separate buses from other vehicles and help alleviate the congestion that creates mini traffic jams at the schools every morning and afternoon.

"When we get done it will be a smoother, whole lot better set up," said Randall Stevens, construction foreman for The Allen Co. of Winchester, which is doing both jobs simultaneously. "They really needed it bad."

At Perryville, work began two weeks ago and the front of the school is a full-fledged construction zone, with dozers, dump trucks, graders and rollers constantly in motion. A new road to the south side of the school will allow buses to unload kids near the cafeteria and circle back out. The existing loop in front of the school is being repaved and will be used by parents who drop off and pick up their children. The existing parking lot in front of the school is being expanded to make room for additional visitor parking and new lighting will be installed.


The cost of the Perryville project is $256,805 and it should be completed in two weeks, Stevens said.

Secretary Terressa Barker described the old system as "a mess," with buses and vehicles intermingling in front of the school. The school devised a system of having separate afternoon bells to release students who rode buses, were picked up by parents and walked home in an effort to keep traffic flowing and children safe.

With all the construction going on right outside her office, Barker said things are "a real mess right now. But it's just a minor inconvenience. It will be well worth it when it's all done."

Stevens said some of the heavy equipment will move today from Perryville to Junction City, where only site preparation work has been done so far.

The Junction City job, which will cost $214,195, should be completed in three weeks, Stevens said.

The Boyle County Board of Education last week approved a $550,000 bond issue to pay for both projects.

Junction City Elementary also will get a new bus loop and increased parking space, both of which have been sorely needed for a long time, said resident William Hair, who lives about a block from the school where his 10-year-old daughter Paige attends. Parents often arrive at school an hour before classes end just to secure a good spot in the line of traffic that snarls around the school for several blocks, Hair said.

"It's been a problem for years," he said. "You get traffic backed up plumb down past the Methodist Church in the evening. I don't think they've ever had an accident but it's pretty dangerous. You get parents who are in a hurry in the morning and cars whizzing by the buses. And it's been worse than ever the last three or four years.

It's a wonder somebody hasn't got hurt."

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