Motorists who use North Iowa Street will need to find a new route beginning next week.
The North Iowa Street bridge over the Kansas Turnpike is scheduled to be closed next week, perhaps as early as Monday, for reconstruction.
But the North Michigan Street bridge, which has been closed since late May, will reopen by Monday. Both bridge projects are in preparation for a $140 million project slated to begin next summer to replace the two Kansas River bridges on the turnpike. As part of that project, the turnpike is being widened to six lanes through Lawrence, necessitating the lengthening of the bridges over the turnpike.
The North Iowa Street bridge is expected to be closed through mid-June. The bridge is a frequent route for heavy trucks traveling to the Kmart Distribution Center and other businesses in the industrial park north of the turnpike.
David Jacobson, chief engineer for the Kansas Turnpike, said the city has made it clear that it doesn't want Michigan Street or Kasold Drive to become regular truck routes for the businesses. That means there likely will be an increase of truck traffic on County Road 438, also known as the Farmers Turnpike, that connects the Lecompton turnpike interchange with the business park.
The turnpike is paying for the North Iowa Street bridge replacement.