Lee’s Summit residents don’t want proposed traffic bridge

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Not in my backyard!

That's what people in one Lee's Summit neighborhood are saying, as city planners hope to install a new traffic bridge on their streets. Many neighbors say this plan will hurt their homes and families.

For now, it's a long, green space, city-owned land within the Timbers Edge neighborhood in Lee's Summit. Families often frolic in this small grassy spot, which sits near a creekbed, in the evenings.

However, municipal planners in Lee's Summit want to build a bridge in that spot, which sits at the northern end of Fifth Terrace, surrounded by large orange reflective signs to mark the street's end. The bridge would span the creek, and connect Fifth Terrace to Bordner Drive.

"There's no way," Stephanie Hall, a resident of the Timbers Edge neighborhood, said on Monday.

Hall is one of many neighbors who disapprove of the plans. She and Gayla Sessa told FOX 4 News they're concerned about safety and the extra traffic to an otherwise quiet street this bridge might bring. Hall and Sessa have lived in the subdivision for a combined 34 years.

The proposed bridge stretches about 250 feet, and city traffic managers say a new passageway would allow better response time for EMS calls, and connect a square mile's worth of properties.

"This traffic's coming our way. Where else can it go?" Sessa fretted.

Construction on the proposed traffic bridge wouldn't start for a year and would take about four to six months to finish. The bridge would sit just outside Sessa's backyard on Fifth Terrace.

"If this becomes a raceway with 1,300 plus cars coming down it every day, kids aren't going to be able to play out here. The kids who are already out here aren't going to play," Sessa told FOX 4 News.

"The city's primary concern is livability, but I don't see how that can be a benefit if we may not even be able to back out of our driveway if there are so many cars streaming by," Hall said.

The city's public works department has $920,000 budgeted for the Fifth Terrace project. Drawings provided by Lee's Summit city planners show how the new bridge would connect neighborhoods, as well as locations where nearby parks and playgrounds currently exist.

Michael Park, Traffic Engineer with the City of Lee's Summit, says the city's plan for the new bridge has the Timbers Edge neighborhood's well-being in mind. He says the city intends to provide new sidewalks and a walking trail for recreational use, and the proposed roadway connection would serve more people than the current green space does.

"We certainly understand those concerns," Park said. "There are certain areas within the city where traffic in neighborhoods has been problematic. While we hear those concerns, there are also opportunities where those concerns can be addressed."

Park says some neighbors have voiced their support for the new bridge.

Neighbors opposed to this project have been voicing their opinion at a series of public meetings. Another gathering will be Wednesday afternoon, April 26th at 5 p.m. at Lee's Summit City Hall.

Although some residents have discussed the possibility of a pedestrian bridge being built instead of the roadway for cars, Park says there is no possibility this would be a pedestrian bridge.