Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

March 25, 2014

Trustees approve traffic concept for McAnally Intermediate

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Preparation for the fifth-grade move to McAnally Intermediate this fall moved forward March 17 with the Aledo ISD school board’s approval of a new traffic concept designed to keep congestion at bay while the school nearly doubles its enrollment.

The board authorized $56,000 in engineering fees related to the plan, considered to be an interim solution. Construction costs are estimated at $540,500, including the fees.

Traffic stacking at the school, located at the juncture of FM Road 5 and FM Road 1187, is already a problem when parents drop off and pick up their sixth graders.

Making the situation worse is a concern parents have voiced repeatedly at town hall, PTO and other meetings where the move has been discussed.

The traffic concept introduced by VLK Architects and engineering firm Teague, Nail & Perkins shows buses and cars on separate tracks, with buses moving to the south side on a temporary loop and cars on the north side in a loop that uses the parking lot.

“Buses would come in off FM 5 by us constructing a temporary gravel drive at the current entrance,” Tom Rutledge, of Teague, Nail and Perkins, said. “We would widen that entrance to where the buses right now exit.

“The buses currently come in off 1187 to the north and come around the east side of the school, then they circle around and queue up in there. That queuing up on the south side of the campus would continue to occur where the canopies are, but we would bring the buses in off FM 5.”

The drive is temporary, Rutledge said, because an assessment of the campus is in progress and there may be a need to expand the building or revise the site plan.

Parents, in contrast, should be directed onto the school grounds off FM 1187, Rutledge said.

“We recommend you widen the drive to make it a four-lane divided drive,” he said, adding that the parking lot would offer enough space to stack and queue more than 90 cars.

A gate would be built at the northwest entrance, Rutledge said, and closed during parent arrival times to force parents up to FM 1187.

Trustee Johnny Campbell noted the parent queueing would block the way in and out of the parking lot, and Rutledge said it would just be a problem for about 30 minutes during the afternoon as morning arrivals are more spread out.

Trustee Steve Bartley noted potential bottlenecking on FM 1187 and FM 5, saying most families come from the southern part of the district.

“Correct,” Rutledge said. “There are going to be some tradeoffs to this because of FM 5 and FM 1187. There’s no perfect solution to manage that.”

The project’s tight schedule calls for presentation of the design and a cost update next month. Construction should begin June 2 with substantial completion by Aug. 15, 10 days before school begins.

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