North Indian Trail residents were scratching their heads last week after reading road signs advising them to take an alternate route during a planned construction project.
“What alternate route?” they wondered.
The sign was wrong, said city officials. Traffic on the south half of Indian Trail Road will be reduced to one lane each direction through April while water pipes are laid.
The sign indicated the road would be closed between Woodside and Kathleen.
“I’ve had lots of calls from people asking ‘what alternate route?”’ said Sharon Page, co-chair of the North Indian Trail Neighborhood Council.
Traffic may be slow, but an alternate route won’t be necessary, said Eldon Brown, a principle engineer with the city’s construction management department.
With Indian Trail closed at Kathleen, the only way out would be over washboard-like Strong Road, across narrow Five Mile Prairie roads, and down a winding road on the other side.
“It looks like they just put up a standard sign, with standard verbiage that doesn’t really apply in this situation,” said Brown.
Later in the week, the “alternate route” suggestion on the sign was taped over.
But the sign and the confusion by drivers underscores the need for a disaster preparedness study in the neighborhood, said Muriel Bechtel, a member of the neighborhood transportation committee.
“There is only one way out of there,” said Bechtel of the neighborhood.
In a letter sent March 13, neighbors requested a disaster preparedness study before the city begins widening the road.
Work to widen Indian Trail Road to three lanes between Kathleen and Barnes Road is scheduled to begin later this summer.
The neighborhood council’s transportation committee has also written a letter to the mayor and City Council opposing the three-lane plan.
Work has already started to run the water main from the large tank at Five Mile Road and Woodside to the new tank on Strong Road overlooking Indian Trail Road.
Because of high water use in the summer, the 4.6 million gallon water tank built in 1995 is nearly empty by morning, said Brown. Water pressure in some homes is reduced to a dribble.
Running the water main from the Five Mile Road tank will help stabilize water elevation and pressure, said Brown.
This water pressure problem is a separate issue from the chronic low water pressure on nearby Howesdale Drive and parts of Seminole Road. Those home are at a higher elevation than existing water tanks.
Most of the work along Indian Trail will be done along the west side of the road between 6 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., four days a week, said Brown.
The road was reduced to one lane Sunday while crews brought the water line across the street from Woodside to the west side of Indian Trail Road.
Work to widen Indian Trail Road to three lanes between Kathleen and Barnes Road is expected to begin later this summer.