Petition circulates calling for new road to divert traffic away from school

Residents living around Springville K-8 School are worried that new residential and business construction in the nearby North Bethany area will increase traffic in front of the school, creating a safety hazard for the students. They have started an online petition urging the Washington County Commission to complete a new road through the area that will divert traffic from in front of the school.

"It's bad now," neighbor Marnie Weiss said of the existing traffic, "so I can't imagine (it) getting worse."

County officials say they do not have enough money to complete the new road at this time, however. Although the final phase of it is included in the current Transportation System Plan, no funds have yet been approved for it.

"It will be constructed at some point in the future, we just don't know when yet," said Stephen Roberts, communications coordinator for the Department of Land Use and Transportation.

The school is located on Joss Road, which connects to Northwest Springville Road to the south. The school sits in the nearly complete Arbor Oaks development, adjacent to North Bethany, where development is just starting. North Bethany is planned for up to 4,600 homes and a number of office and retail buildings.

A new road is currently being built from Springville into North Bethany from the south. The final section of it will connect to 185th Avenue on the east, creating a alternative route out of the area. The new road has been called Road A but was recently renamed Northwest Shackelford Road.

The first and longest section of the new road is being financed with a county loan that will be repaid by developers as their homes are built. The final section is outside the Urban Growth Boundary, however, which means it cannot be developed. According to Roberts, it will be expensive to build because it must cross a flood plain that needs to be protected.

Roberts said other existing and planned roads connect North Bethany to Springville, however. They include the existing Kaiser Road and a road known as P-15 that will be built east of Joss.

Although neighbors worry about increasing traffic in front of the school, Roberts said many schools in the county are currently located on busy streets. Roberts also said a traffic light and other improvements will be warranted at Joss and Springville as construction proceeds.

The online petition is at

KOIN News 6 contributed to this story.

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