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City urges construction workers to prepare S.E. 40th for school traffic

The ongoing construction along S.E. 40th Street has caused daily congestion from the intersection of Island Crest Way and S.E. 40th east to S.E. 40th and Gallagher Hill. With school starting this week, the number of buses and cars passing through this area will double. The city and school district, however, are working to ease the problem.

Superintendent Gary Plano announced at last Thursday’s School Board meeting that the city is making efforts to slow traffic.

“The city is working with us to get the intersection [of 86th and 40th] as ready as it can be for the first week of school,” Plano said.

In an effort to keep traffic flowing, the city will minimize construction barricades and detours along S.E. 40th and 86th during school opening and closing hours.

“The construction workers are aware that school is starting on Tuesday and that it’s extremely important to make sure that not only school traffic, but emergency vehicles, are allowed through the intersection. We don’t want to see any back-ups when school starts and ends,” said Assistant City Engineer Anne Tonella-Howe.

The intersection of S.E. 40th and 86th Avenue S.E. is a main area of traffic to and from Mercer Island High School, along with St. Monica School, the CHILD private school, Country Village Day Care and Pixie Hill Preschool at North Mercer. It is also a busy thoroughfare for Island residents heading toward I-90 via Island Crest Way or Gallagher Hill.

Plano will not be surprised, he told the Reporter, if the construction — modifications and all — keeps students from arriving to class on time.

“My concern is there could potentially be delays with buses and parents getting their kids to school,” he said.

For details on delays along S.E. 40th, visit the city’s Web site at: www.ci.mercer-island.wa.us. Look under City Services and then City and Regional Projects.

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