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March 12, 2014

Bullard officials unite on road projects

BULLARD — Hoping to help create a smoother flow of traffic around the school campuses, Bullard City Council members are working with the local school district on two proposed road projects.

The first calls for adding a right turn lane on Panther Crossing, west of the elementary campus entrance, impacting only east-bound traffic as it approaches the school.

“The placement of schools on a narrow road meant a single line of traffic going for about two miles,” explained City Manager Larry Morgan. “When the elementary school was built, there were a lot more people in a small area with no way to get out of the line because of oncoming traffic.”

Which, in turn, created a bottleneck, and ultimately, a problem that has worsened over the past decade and a half.

“It's been an ongoing problem, and when you have a school system that grows over the years, it becomes a real problem, and it's time to address that problem,” he said, describing the area as “a big-time bottleneck.”

However, Morgan said, by adding a continuous turn lane, “where the only people getting in line would be the ones going to pick up their children” at the elementary campus, the problem would be alleviated.

Council members unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with Bullard ISD during a Feb. 25 council meeting.

The council also voted to realign Panther Crossing at Schoolhouse Road so that it would be flush with a proposed private drive through the school property that exits on a city street.

Morgan said costs on the projects – which the city will assume – are an estimated $68,000 to implement a turn lane on Panther Crossing, and $121,000 for the road realignment.

“We're not paying for anything on school property, just for the roadwork on city streets,” Morgan said. “Once it's on their property, the school will pay for that work.”

Cost does not include rerouting existing utility lines, if needed.

Meanwhile, school leaders are working on details for both projects, as their goal “is to have this work done before school starts back up in the fall,” Morgan said.

This past month, the Jacksonville City Council addressed similar safety issues by passing an ordinance to restrict parking along streets in the vicinity of Jacksonville High School.

The council voted unanimously in favor of Ordinance No. 1461, which prohibits parking along Mason Drive and Henderson, Palestine, Tyler and Deaton streets.

Jacksonville City Manager Mo Raissi told the council “the no parking (ordinance) will eliminate the problem for good, we hope."

City officials will continue to work with residents living along the streets in question, in the event they own multiple vehicles; the ordinance will ensure proper parking spaces for emergency officials to park their vehicles should a situation occur, Raissi added.

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