Frequent users of West Sixth Street received a pleasant surprise late last month when work to widen the street between Wakarusa Drive and Monterey Way was halted temporarily, opening the road up to motorists on Christmas Eve.
But the milelong stretch will close again this spring when work to widen the street to four lanes resumes, according to Terese Gorman, city engineer.
"The temperatures aren't warm enough to put down asphalt," Gorman said. "The moisture and the temperature aren't allowing us to do anything."
However, Gorman said an estimated completion date of June 1 is "still realistic."
Workers have yet to put a final layer of asphalt on the road along with appropriate traffic markings. Sidewalks, driveways and some final grading and cleanup also will need to be done, Gorman said.
During the time the road was closed between September and December the official detour route directed traffic south to 15th Street between Wakarusa Drive and Iowa Street.
While traffic will be rerouted again once contruction resumes, access to residences and businesses in the construction area will be direct from Sixth Street. Before, access had been provided by temporary gravel frontage roads and Eldridge Street.
Some people may be blocked from their residences for about three hours when the final layer of asphalt is drying in front of their homes, Gorman said.
LRM Industries Inc., a Lawrence firm, is the contractor for the project. The state is picking up 70 percent of the tab for the $976,000 project, and the city and county are funding the remainder.