The start of the school year always bring traffic congestion to Kilgore campuses, and local officials are taking extra steps to, as best they can, streamline the flow at Chandler Elementary School as significant street construction continues.
“It’s going to be a nice thing when they’re finished,” KISD Superintendent Andy Baker said. “They’re moving and replacing some utilities, they’re going to widen that street, they’re putting center turn lanes down that street.”
Granted, it means a major school traffic artery is, for the most part, blocked as classes get underway Wednesday, Aug. 14.
“We have to get through this first couple of months of the headache, but after that it’s going to be a safer place.”
Right now, Chandler is reduced to one-way, southbound. With concrete pours underway and more to come, the traffic flow is scheduled to reverse Aug. 12, northbound, still one-way for the coming months.
Considering that, and taking into account surrounding feeder streets to Chandler Elementary, KISD and City of Kilgore have been spreading a start-of-year map for parent drop-offs and pickups.
Traffic to the campus is directed to follow Leach Street east from Hwy. 259 and turn north on Birch Lane. Taking the next right on Amanda Lane, the pick-up/drop-off line will detour through the northernmost portion stretch of Remington Estates then follow Penny Lane to Amanda Lane and, finally, the school.
“It just kind of follows the widest streets possible, and that’s where we have less homes,” Baker said. “By taking this route, cars stacking up on Amanda Lane and Penny Lane will be in front of fewer houses. We’re going to make a concerted effort from the district’s point of view reminding parents not to block traffic.”
Residents around the school are definitely on the mind, says Kilgore Public Works Director Clay Evers.
“The way we have traffic stacked, it shouldn’t affect any homeowners,” he said. Efforts are being made to get the detour map in as many hands as possible before the start of school, and there will be on-site assistance as well: “Kilgore Police Department will be here to remind people of that the first few days.”
Overall, the Chandler Street project is on an accelerated timetable after getting underway June 24, he noted. One-way traffic will continue for approximately five months, with completion estimated for January 2020.