Danedri Thompson
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Repairs to Madison Street are complete in time for the fair, but lane reductions at U.S. 56 Highway and Main Street will continue throughout the week.
“Madison is done,” Fairburn said. “Everyone was sort of holding their breath there a little bit. Everything should be great.”
The annual Johnson County Fair brings thousand of visitors to town throughout the week, and officials are expecting similar crowds will pour into town this year. With road construction on Moonlight Road and at U.S. 56 Highway and Main Street intersection, city officials are hoping to have construction in phases that will allow the masses of traffic to move through town smoothly.
According to David Greene, city public works director, the lane reductions on Main Street will move further east of Moonlight Road. That should help traffic pass through town more smoothly.
Southbound drivers on Interstate 35 may have noticed the lighted sign on the highway notifying drivers to expect delays on 56 Highway and encouraging them to use the Gardner Road exit if possible. Fairburn said if all lanes are open on 56 Highway, the lighted sign will be gone during fair week. That sign could confuse out-of-towners, he said.
“The people who don’t live here won’t know where to go,” Fairburn said. “Also, one of the problems with Gardner Road is that’s been overused. We’ve had backups onto the highway.”
Plus, Fairburn said, city officials would like drivers to come down Main Street for the fair.
“If they’re just coming down from the north we anticipate going down Main Street and stopping at all the stores and spending all the money,” he said.
Moonlight Road construction will continue throughout the week, but Fairburn said changes have been made to the stoplight timing at the Moonlight Road and Main Street intersection.
“They did put in new equipment for the timing of the lights traffic signals,” he said. “For the last week they’ve been working much better. That’s moving a lot better now. We’re not seeing those excessive backups for southbound Moonlight folks.”
Greene said at the Moonlight Road will have more lanes open during fair week. For the past few weeks, there has only been one lane operational on Moonlight at the Main Street intersection. Greene said there should be two lanes open at the intersection and a turn lane ready in time for the fair.
Fairburn said poolgoers should also note that a portion of the Gardner Aquatic Center parking lot will be off limits for drivers once the carnival comes to town.
“A whole area is blocked off. That creates an issue, but it’s just for one week,” Fairburn said. “There is still some parking available, but they may have to walk to it.”
Fairburn said city officials aren’t expecting any larger crowds than normal, and fair week has always gone well in the past.
“For putting a bunch of people into a small area, it goes pretty smoothly,” he said.