Archive for Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Baldwin street repairs could be sped up

September 28, 2004


Plans to overhaul a major street in Baldwin could be sped up in the coming months, Douglas County commissioners said Monday.

Baldwin city officials are pushing to rebuild Sixth Street, from Indiana to Orange streets at the southern edge of town, and commissioners have tentative plans to pump $445,203 into the project starting in 2006. Construction would be set for 2008.

But county financing would be eligible for acceleration, commissioners said, if Baldwin officials were to speed up their own commitments -- particularly by securing the remaining $450,000 needed to make the project go.

"It's a really important project -- not just for Baldwin, but for the entire county," Commissioner Jere McElhaney said.

The project -- to revamp the two-lane road to include curbs, gutters and underground roadside drainage -- is included in the county's proposed capital-improvements plan, which outlines financing for major construction projects envisioned in the next eight years.

Commissioners discussed the overall plan briefly during Monday's meeting at the Douglas County Courthouse, then agreed to discuss specific projects during their next regular business meeting, at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at the courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets.

Commissioners are waiting to hear from Kansas Department of Transportation officials, who are scheduled to meet with Lawrence and Douglas County commissioners at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

County commissioners want to soak up as much information as possible about the status of several major projects -- especially completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway, plans for the future of Kansas Highway 10 near Eudora and construction of a new U.S. Highway 59 south of Lawrence -- before committing to financing for more than two dozen smaller projects.

Among the decisions on hold until after the meeting with state officials: Financing the extension of 31st Street, from Haskell Avenue to O'Connell Road; and helping pay for the reconfiguration of K-10's intersection at Church Street in Eudora, one of several projects proposed for the city.

Douglas County commissioners intend to tackle transportation issues twice Wednesday:7:30 a.m.: Meet with Lawrence city commissioners and Sally Howard, chief counsel for the Kansas Department of Transportation, to discuss planned highway projects and other issues in and around Lawrence at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.6:35 p.m.: Consider approving county's proposed capital-improvements plan, Douglas County Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets.

"All of these projects are important, no two ways about it," McElhaney said.

The Sixth Street project is among several Baldwin-related projects on the proposed plan:

  • Replace bridge at Fourth and High streets in Baldwin. County's estimated cost: $125,000, with construction in 2006.
  • Realign curve along Douglas County Route 1055 -- which leads from Lawrence to Baldwin -- at North 875 Road. County's estimated cost: $395,000, with construction in 2009.
  • Overhaul County Road 1055, from County Road 458 to Vinland, to decrease sharpness of curves, add paved shoulders and replace bridges and culverts. County's estimated cost: $3 million, with construction in 2011.

Baldwin officials already are banking on doing the Sixth Street work in 2008, but that schedule could move up, said Bill Winegar, the city's public works director.

"The road's in pretty bad shape, and I think to have it moved up on the list would be great," Winegar said.

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