By Eugenia Jones
For years, school personnel, parents transporting students to/from McCreary Middle and McCreary Central High Schools, and others traveling Raider Way Road and Wilburn K. Ross HWY have been frustrated by the amount of traffic that backs up on Raider Way Road as classes begin and end for the day.
The situation seems to have worsened this year as parent transportation has increased.
“Like many districts across the Commonwealth, we have seen an increase in parent transportation this year over past years,” Keith noted. “We are working hard to develop solutions and want to thank the community for their patience.”
In an attempt to alleviate congestion at the schools in the mornings, the McCreary County School District has backed up the time students can arrive at school in the mornings. Earlier this week, students began arriving (primarily parent transport) at schools from 7:20 a.m. until the start of classes rather than from 7:30 a.m. The extra ten minutes of drop off time appears to have decreased morning congestion.
In partnership with the County, the School District is also in the midst of constructing a turn lane beginning at the school district property line at Central Office and extending to the parent lanes at the middle school. Hopefully in a week or two, the lane will be paved and will further alleviate congestion. Additionally, as part of the upcoming middle school renovation, a road circling behind the school building will be built. This will increase the number of vehicles able to get off of Raider Way during parent pick-up and free up traffic to and from the high school.
Most significantly, a “connector road” from the high school to the Somerset Community College/McCreary Center is now a component of the approved six year state road plan. Although construction of the road is currently only in the planning process, eventual construction of the road will greatly alleviate traffic congestion and provide a reliable emergency route once completed.
McCreary County’s State Representative Kenneth Upchurch, who is Chairperson of the House Transportation Committee, noted the importance of the connector road and the significance of it being placed on the six year state road plan.
“This is a very important road project for McCreary County,” Upchurch said. “Not only is it a school safety issue but once completed it will make a big difference in the traffic flow in and around the school system. I have spoken to Superintendent Keith several times about the ongoing issue and will do everything necessary to expedite this project.”