The new school year starts this week in Shawnee Mission, and blocked sidewalks on 75th Street/Blackfish Parkway in Shawnee are forcing some students to figure out alternate routes to school.
Joyce Rosenberg, a Shawnee Mission parent whose son is in seventh grade at Trailridge Middle School, voiced her concerns about the roadwork construction project via Twitter.
The city responded on Twitter that the road will re-open to drivers this week, but pedestrians will still need to use 71st and 79th streets until construction crews rebuild the sidewalk and trails. Sidewalks are expected to be open in two to three weeks.
Julie Breithaupt, communications manager for Shawnee, said the city had reached out to Rosenberg Sunday afternoon to address her concerns. She said there are no alternate walking routes where the actual construction work is taking place because of safety concerns.
“Our engineers held at least two public neighborhood meetings about this project and have been providing ongoing updates to the HOAs close to the project,” Breithaupt said. “Our engineers have also been in contact with Good Shepherd, Trailridge Middle School, the Shawnee Mission School District and the bus company over the past weeks to make sure everyone is on the same page.”
Construction still left to complete on the project includes concrete pouring for new sidewalks and installation of handrails, which the city expects to be finished within two to three weeks, Breithaupt added. Other unfinished items include seeding and sodding, which the city expects to complete this fall, although these items are not expected to impact pedestrians or traffic.
School bus transportation is also available for Trailridge students. David Smith, chief communications officer for the Shawnee Mission School District, said school bus transportation costs $185 per student per semester, or $370 per student for the school year.