With Gateway Technical College and Burlington High School in the background, a roundabout intersection has taken shape at Highway 142 and McCanna Parkway. The project, which was targeted to finish prior to the start of classes, will be delayed several weeks. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

BASD doesn’t anticipate problems when classes begin

By Ed Nadolski

Editor in Chief

With construction slowed by the heavy rains of mid July the completion of the Highway 142-McCanna Parkway roundabout intersection will be several weeks later than anticipated.

Officials with the state Department of Transportation had hoped to compete the $4 million project in time for the start of classes at nearby Burlington High School on Sept. 5. Now it looks like that won’t happen until late September.

“The water levels delayed operations, but the team is looking at ways to accelerate the project as much as possible,” said Dan Sellers, a communications specialist with the DOT.

“Lots of operations are going to pick up all throughout the project with simultaneous work going on at different locations,” he said. “Traffic is encouraged to find alternate routes and may experience periodic delays from moving operations.”

Sellers said the DOT has informed the Burlington Area School District, Thomas Bus Company, and Gateway Technical College to give them time to set up any needed transportation contingencies.

Burlington Area School District Superintendent Peter Smet said the district plans to implement the same transportation pattern that was used during the final month of last school year when the roundabout construction project began last spring.

“This is not much of a problem because the project started in May so we made all the route adjustments at that time,” Smet wrote in response to emailed questions.  “The families did the change in the spring without any issues.

“The bus company is informing the parents affected that we will be operating like we did in the spring until the roundabout is open.  When it opens it will be a relatively minor change to pick up and drop of times to accommodate the new roundabout.”


Road resurfacing

In addition to installing the roundabout, the project includes resurfacing a four-mile stretch of Highway 142 (Bushnell Road) from Edgewood Street on the west to Highway J on the east. The interchange with the Highway 11/36/83 bypass is excluded from the resurfacing project.

The resurfacing will include improvements to the intersections at Brever Road, Wheatland Road, Womack Lane, Shagbark Lane, Horseshoe Trail and Highway J, according to the DOT.

Local traffic access to Brever Road on a gravel base was reopened this week after being closed for a period to accommodate work in the area.

Earlier this decade, fter consulting with officials from the town, city, county, school district and Gateway Technical College, the DOT settled on the roundabout with at-grade bicycle and pedestrian crossings for the intersection at McCanna Parkway.

Officials at the time expressed concern about the box culvert tunnel included in two of the original designs considered, saying it would likely become a target for graffiti and a place for teens to loiter.

According to state officials, the design of the intersection is complicated by its proximity to the schools, Bushnell Park and the White River Trail, and a desire to maintain safe interaction with pedestrian and bicycle traffic.                Former Town of Burlington Chairman Kurt Petrie championed the removal of the Highway 142 overpass as part of a campaign pledge in 2007, but the proposal languished over concerns about the cost of the overpass removal and the jurisdictional transfer for that stretch of highway.

In 2009, City of Burlington officials agreed to assume responsibility for patrol and maintenance of the intersection if the state agreed to remove the overpass and create the junction.