Mission gets ready to celebrate big when Johnson Drive barricades come down in one week

The clock on Rotary Plaza is already a new addition to the streetscape.
The clock on Rotary Plaza is already a new addition to the streetscape.

The countdown has started. It is only one week until the barricades are gone and Johnson Drive officially re-opens in its new form after a year of construction that rebuilt the street from storefront to storefront.

The city is planning a major celebration next week as the work finishes up. Next Friday, the celebration starts at 9 a.m. with the official ceremony, emergency vehicle parade and the SM North marching band. But it does not stop on Friday. Saturday has live music, free food, and special sales at many of the shops. The full list of events and specials can be found on the Mission Forward page. And more photos on the Mission Forward Facebook page. You can even watch the countdown clock running on the page, see the complete plans and view photos. Check the page next week for changes each day.

With just seven days remaining until the barricade-breaking party, crews are adding the finishing touches, primarily to the cement work and landscaping sections. The clock donated by the Shawnee Mission Rotary Club is in place and will have its dedication next week as well.

Brick veneer and stone caps on some of the streetscape elements are a primary focus this week. The new traffic signal at Johnson Drive and Lamar has been turned on. All of the pavement and parking areas have been striped and are ready to go. Barricades have remained in place only to protect workers finishing streetscape work.

Still to come are the landscape plantings – trees should come this fall, but some other plants won’t be put in place until next spring. Street lights also have not been installed yet. Hand rails are planned for a spot in the north east sidewalk area near Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop where a short step up has caused some concern about tripping.

The recommendations from the Johnson Drive Parking Task Force came before a city council committee Wednesday and are expected to be approved at the council meeting this month. Those recommendations put a two-hour parking limit on the street.