| First Quarter 2013 | story by MEGAN GILLILAND, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER |
The history of the University of Kansas’ Lawrence Campus is being recognized and preserved by the creation of a historic district.
Since 2005, the City of Lawrence has applied millions of dollars toward street maintenance and infrastructure. On average, more than $5 million in city funding is provided annually to projects that address street conditions, including milling and overlay, road reconstruction, microsurfacing and curb and gutter replacement. In 2013 alone, the city will use a combination of municipal bonds, sales tax funds, state and federal funding, benefit district funds, city ad valorem taxes and other city-specific funds to complete more than $22.3 million in street maintenance and infrastructure projects.
Lawrence residents have rated street maintenance and quality infrastructure as the top priority, and the city has listened. Every year, the Public Works Department sets out a program for maintenance that uses a combination of tools to prevent and slow further deterioration of roadways. The program has been successful. Data from the Pavement Condition Index reports overall positive movement across the city’s 812-lane miles.
“Quality roads are important to our current and future residents,” Mayor Bob Schumm says. “As we work to bring more primary jobs to Lawrence and make our community more attractive to businesses looking to relocate or expand, infrastructure plays a key role in these decisions.”
The city isn’t the only organization attuned to the benefits of enhanced infrastructure. The long-awaited South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT) is set to begin construction in late 2013 (completion is projected for 2016) and is projected to create $3.71 billion in economic impact for the State of Kansas. To calculate overall economic impact, KDOT uses a formula that takes into consideration new development that will occur due to better access, value of travel time and costs saved, value of crashes avoided and business productivity gains resulting from more reliable travel.
The SLT was funded as part of KDOT’s 2010 T-WORKS transportation program and was identified as the number one priority for the state of Kansas and has the highest economic benefit of all the projects in the T-WORKS program.
Summer 2013 Impact
This summer, motorists in Lawrence will experience major inconveniences due to construction. The project that will affect most people is the reconstruction of Iowa Street from Harvard to the Irving Hill Overpass. The city will reconstruct the entire roadway, including the intersection of 15th/Bob Billings Parkway (BBP) and Iowa Street this summer. The intersection of 15th/BBP and Iowa will be closed to all east/west traffic after commencement ceremonies at the University of Kansas and will not re-open until mid-August. North/south traffic will be allowed on Iowa Street but traffic will be down to one lane at times with shifting lane patterns. A center turn lane will be added on Iowa Street, from Harvard to the Irving Hill Overpass. This is a $6.6 million project that is paid for using KDOT Highway Safety funding, KDOT Surface Transportation Program funding and city sales tax.
Additionally, the City of Lawrence will perform pavement reconstruction on eastbound lanes of Bob Billings Parkway from Kasold to Crestline. A shared use path will be added from Crestline to Kasold to allow for walking/biking on the south side of the roadway. This project is coordinated with the Iowa Street Reconstruction project. Traffic will not be allowed at times on eastbound lanes since the intersection at Iowa and 15th Street will be closed to east/west traffic. This is a $1.2 million project.
This summer, the city will construct a dedicated westbound left turn lane for traffic travelling south to Iowa Street from 6th Street. Traffic will be carried with two east/westbound lanes throughout most of the project. Sidewalks will be added along 6th Street on the south side of the street. This project will also include the addition of new signals at the intersection. The roadway will be milled and overlaid after reconstruction. The entire project cost is $900,000.
The city will continue to improve access to downtown by adding a two-way center turn lane on 9th Street between Tennessee and Kentucky. In addition, the signals at 9th & Tennessee will be replaced to accommodate the new lane configuration.
A major mill and overlay project will occur on Iowa Street, south of 29th Street to the city limits this summer. One lane of roadway, both north and south, will be open to motorists throughout the project. Single, one-lane closures causing delays are expected.
On the west edge of town, Wakarusa north and south of the intersection of Bob Billings Parkway will be reconstructed as part of this project. The roadway will be widened and bike lanes added. The Wakarusa and BBP intersection will be closed to north/southbound traffic. East/westbound traffic will be maintained on BBP through the intersection for the duration of the project.
When the city acquired the former Farmland nitrogen fertilizer plant on the east edge of Lawrence in 2009, plans were set into motion to develop the 400-plus acre site into an industrial park. This year, the city will start to install infrastructure – roadways, a storm water detention pond, and sewer and water lines – to bolster the site’s ability to attract new development. The city will add a traffic signal at 23rd Street and O’Connell Road to increase safety and ease of access to the Farmland site. The project also includes geometric improvements at the intersection including a westbound left turn lane and adding turn lanes on the north approach to the intersection. Two lanes of east/west traffic will be available at all times for travel during construction.
For more information on city construction projects, visit www.lawrenceks.org/construction.