The first phase of South Lawrence Trafficway construction will be wrapped up by the end of the year.
Douglas County commissioners say a design change they approved for the South Lawrence Trafficway would let them keep their options open for the route of the road's controversial eastern leg.
On Wednesday, commissioners voted to modify their contract for construction of an interchange bridge over U.S. Highway 59 so that it would feed either into the 31st Street alignment for which it was designed or into routes along 35th or 38th streets, which are under study.
John Pasley, the county's trafficway project manager, said the contract was drawn up about a year before a supplemental environmental impact statement was ordered to re-evaluate routes the road might take from U.S. Highway 59 to Kansas Highway 10.
Construction of the first nine miles of the road, from the Kansas Turnpike west of Lawrence south and west to U.S. Highway 59, already is under way.
The change approved Wednesday scales back the amount of construction that will be done on the east side of U.S. Highway 59 bridge until the alignment beyond that point is decided. Trafficway planners agreed not to proceed on the eastern leg until the statement was completed late this year or next.
``We need to tell (the contractor) to hang on because that's the promise that we made,'' Commissioner Mark Buhler said.
Pasley said construction of the bridge, which will cross U.S. Highway 59 at 35th Street, just south of the Payless Cashways store, will begin within the next 60 days.
He also got commission approval to pay Howard Needles Tammen and Bergendoff, the engineering firm that is designing the trafficway, an additional $40,080 to design three bridges for the 15-mile hike and bike path that will run parallel to the road.
Pasley said construction would begin in October for the 4.9-mile stretch of the path that will run from Clinton Parkway and Douglas County Road 13 southeast to 35th Street and U.S. Highway 59.
Pasley also gave the following construction timetable updates, which are conditioned upon dry weather:
- The interchange bridge over U.S. Highway 40 is scheduled for completion next month. Grading of the roadway north from U.S. Highway 40 to N. 1750 Road, about half a mile south of the Kansas Turnpike, will be done by the end of September.
- Hamm Construction of Perry, which also is doing the U.S. Highway 40 bridge, has said the interchange bridge over the Kansas Turnpike and grading of the roadway north to Douglas County Road 438 should be done by the end of the year.
- Sherwood Construction of Wichita, which is doing all bridge and grading work south of U.S. Highway 40 to U.S. Highway 59, is running at least six weeks behind schedule because of wet weather. Sherwood's grading work is likely to be done by the end of the year.
- The interchange bridge at Clinton Parkway and Douglas County Road 13 will be completed in 60 days. The west end of Clinton Parkway will be moved about 500 feet north by the first of September. Traffic will be limited to the south two lanes of the existing roadway beginning next week.