KELLER — A busy intersection for commuters, churchgoers and students is getting a much-needed makeover.The reconstruction project of the intersection of Rufe Snow Drive and Johnson Road will add a traffic light and dedicated turn lanes that transportation officials say will make the two roads safer.The project, which costs about $338,000, should be complete in four months, senior project engineer Chad Bartee said.Problems with the intersection — where Rufe Snow dead ends into Johnson — were highlighted in 2012 when the city updated its thoroughfare plan. Police Chief Mark Hafner said the number of collisions have increased steadily at the intersection because drivers wanting to turn left from Rufe Snow can’t clearly see oncoming traffic because of a hill on Johnson.Traffic has also increased on Johnson as it evolved into an east-west commuter route for drivers wanting to avoid Keller Parkway.“The decision was made to put up a traffic control light because there were not enough gaps to get out on Johnson Road safely,” Hafner said. “There are more collisions occurring each year and when you look at the whole site picture, you can’t see the traffic.”The intersection sits just behind the Keller school district athletic complex and across the street from First United Methodist Church of Keller. Keller High School is just west of the intersection, on other side of the athletic complex.Hafner said some of the safety concerns are related to students driving to and from Keller High.“We always want our student drivers to be safe,” said Bryce Nieman, a spokesman with the Keller school district. “And with this project we appreciate the dedication toward keeping them safe on the roads.”The Rev. Ted McIlvain, pastor at the Methodist church, said he and other church members are grateful for the new lanes and that construction has so far gone smoothly without affecting church attendance.“The city has done a good job to keep the lanes open to help,” he said.
Taylor Prater, 817-390-7964 Twitter: @taylornprater