Mission’s Johnson Drive opens all four lanes of traffic as long construction project comes to an end

Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt takes the hammer to the last ceremonial barricade on Johnson Drive. Photo courtesy of Mission
Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt takes the hammer to the last ceremonial barricade on Johnson Drive. Photo courtesy of Mission:Forward and Springboard Creative.

It’s open again. Johnson Drive through downtown Mission was back to four lanes of traffic this morning and most of the construction cones have disappeared.

With the temperature hovering below 20 degrees this morning, only the marching band was missing from the city’s barricade breaking celebration. The speeches were brief and the coffee plentiful as dozens gathered to mark the official end of construction and the opening of all four lanes of Johnson Drive to traffic for the first time since early March. The impact of construction really started in the summer of 2013 when utilities were being replaced under the street, a project that lasted until December. Storm sewers were replaced as part of the road construction this year. Traffic often was blocked on the side streets and even Johnson Drive was closed in places during the construction. Traffic flow was cut to two lanes all summer.

Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt shared the barricade breaking with his predecessor, Laura McConwell, who started the project in her administration. Schowengerdt also thanked the businesses of Johnson Drive for sacrificed during the long period of construction.

Later in the morning, the clock tower donated by the Shawnee Mission Rotary Club was dedicated and plaques honoring three of its members were unveiled at the new Rotary Plaza. On Saturday, businesses along Johnson Drive will be offering free food, live music and special sales to celebrate the opening. A full list of activities and specials can be found here.  More photos of the day’s events can be found at the Mission:Forward Facebook page. An opening reception will be held tonight at Melange Dance + Events at 5636 Johnson Drive starting at 5:30 p.m.

While the rebuild of the Johnson Drive from storefront to storefront is essentially complete, a few late additions will be coming. Street lights are expected to arrive at the end of the month and be installed. The landscape beds will have some plants and trees added this fall with more plantings in the spring. A bit of brick veneer work remains to be done on the a portion of the streetscape, but the roadway, sidewalks and parking areas are complete and otherwise cone-free for the first time in months.

Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt and former mayor Laura McConwell at this morning's opening of Johnson Drive. Photo courtesy of Mission:Forward and Springboard Creative.
Mission Mayor Steve Schowengerdt and former mayor Laura McConwell at this morning’s opening of Johnson Drive. Photo courtesy of Mission:Forward and Springboard Creative.
Traffic was rolling in all four lanes today along Mission's Johnson Drive.
Traffic was rolling in all four lanes today along Mission’s Johnson Drive.