No more detours. And no more lane restrictions.
For the first time in 18 months, Kasold Drive is completely open - all the way from the Farmers Turnpike south to 31st Street.
"Probably the happiest folks are the people who try to get back and forth across the turnpike," said Dena Mezger, assistant director of the Lawrence Public Works Department.
About noon Friday, life got easier for everyone who lives, works and worships along Kasold Drive between Peterson Road and I-70. Work on the bridge over the Kansas Turnpike began in April 2006 and wrapped up this spring, but because of road construction, drivers couldn't get to it.
Neighbors in the area say it felt like the work went on "forever."
"It made it a little difficult for everyone to get to church and get to work, too," said Bob Woods, Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church administrator. "We had a quite a few people calling and saying, 'I'm lost. How do I get there?'"
Now, those phone calls should stop. Workers have re-paved the two-lane road, divided it, and added roundabouts at Grand Vista Drive and Tillerman Drive and sidewalks to both sides of the road.
"They're nice, too, to be able to take the kids for a walk," said Hayley Shanks, 3401 Tillerman Drive. "We didn't have sidewalks before."
City officials said the rural road needed an urban update. With the bridge already under construction, officials decided to start work on the street itself in late 2006.
"With the growth in that area, Kasold was really too small. The bridge was going to be replaced, so it was just an appropriate time to go ahead and expand the road for future growth and development," Mezger said.
Mezger said workers still have to clean up the area, and the contractor will return in the spring to repair several cracks in the concrete.
That's similar to what happened during another project on Kasold between Bob Billings Drive and Clinton Parkway. During work to replace the roadbed, traffic in that stretch of road was restricted to one lane in each direction. The project was completed this summer.
The project on North Kasold cost about $4 million and came in $200,000 under budget, Mezger said
But drivers crossing the turnpike still are one bridge short - and will be until June. Kansas Turnpike Authority is rebuilding the Michigan Street bridge. If weather permits, officials said construction on that project could wrap up by the end of the year. Then, construction will begin on the Iowa Street bridge. They're lengthening both bridges to accommodate six lanes of traffic on Interstate 70.