Q&A: Pathfinder plan for Hillcrest project; Price Road speed limits

October 8, 2019

What is planned for the Pathfinder expansion in conjunction with Hillcrest Drive improvements?

The Hillcrest Drive improvements project approved by voters in the last half-cent sales tax election, in 2013, consists of widening Hillcrest Drive between 18th Street and the Caney River, adding shoulders and extending the Pathfinder Parkway trail in the area. More specifically, according to Engineering Director Micah Siemers, a portion of the existing roadway will be salvaged and used as a pedestrian trail — thus, an extension of the Pathfinder trail.

“Basically, we’ll have a paved trail from around 20th Street to the Caney River that will be adjacent to the new roadway alignment,” Siemers said. “At the river they could use existing sidewalk to continue south to the entrance of Hillcrest Heights. At the Shawnee intersection they could use the shoulder on Shawnee to get to the Pathfinder trailhead between Hillcrest and the high school.”

Siemers said the trail could be extended further north to 18th Street — if funds allow.

“The final layout will not be known until the design is further along and we see how the budget looks,” he said.

Also note that because the widening will occur adjacent to the existing roadway, the majority of the road construction will be done without closing lanes to traffic on Hillcrest Drive, with the exception of closures on the back end of construction to tie in the new roadway.

The $2.2 million project was set for funding in 2021. However, the design portion has been underway so construction can begin as soon as possible. Construction is likely to begin in the fall of 2020.

Speed limit synchronicity

I have noticed they decreased the speed limit from 45 to 35 mph eastbound on Price Road between the roundabout and Highway 75, but the speed limit westbound is 45 mph going past Jo Allyn Lowe Park and the two neighborhoods (Burlingame and Starview) leading up to the roundabout. What was the reason for the change and will the City change the westbound speed limit also?

To clarify, the speed limit on Price Road is 35 mph for both lanes of travel from the roundabout to the top of the hill directly east of the roundabout, and 45 mph for both directions between the top of the hill east to U.S. Highway 75.

The 35 mph limit for eastbound traffic between the roundabout and the top of the hill is new. The change came after a review of the speed limit for other portions of Price Road indicated some confusion and that changes were warranted. More specifically, previously the portion of the roadway nearest to the roundabout was 35 mph for westbound traffic but not eastbound. Staff believed it would be less confusing to motorists and assist with speed enforcement in the area if the speed restrictions were uniform for both lanes of travel. It is also believed the change will improve safety for vehicles entering Price Road from the two subdivisions and three driveways that are located downhill from the crest.

Signs have been amended to reflect the changes.