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Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Highway 59 project in ‘good shape’ to finish on schedule

Construction work on a new U.S. Highway 59, seen at right, is taking shape next to the current highway, seen at left, just north of Ottawa. A wet winter has slowed progress, but it is still expected to finish on schedule in 2011.

Construction work on a new U.S. Highway 59, seen at right, is taking shape next to the current highway, seen at left, just north of Ottawa. A wet winter has slowed progress, but it is still expected to finish on schedule in 2011.

April 2, 2008

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Hwy 59 construction should finish on schedule

A wet winter slowed progress on construction of the new Highway 59 freeway in Franklin County, but a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Transportation says workers should catch up as the weather warms. Enlarge video

New U.S. 59 Highway route

New U.S. 59 Highway route

A wet winter slowed progress on construction of the new U.S. Highway 59, but the work pace will increase as the weather warms up, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Transportation said.

"They are still in pretty good shape," KDOT's Stan Whitley said. "If they get decent weather this spring, they'll be on schedule."

Construction began in spring 2007 on the new $240 million, four-lane highway that will connect Ottawa to Lawrence. It will replace the two-lane highway where a number of injury and fatality traffic accidents have occurred. It is expected to be complete in 2011.

The first phase of construction involves grading and bridge work in Franklin County. The grading of the new highway currently ends about four miles north of Ottawa. The phase is expected to be completed in spring or summer 2009.

"The bridges are something you can usually work on when the weather gets colder, but it's kind of hard to do when it is muddy," Whitley said.

A bid-letting for paving of 7.6 miles of the Franklin County section of the route will be in December, Whitley said.

In November, a bid-letting for surface grading in Douglas County will be conducted. The Douglas County section of the highway will run to just south of Lawrence where it will connect with the existing four-lane highway.

The highway will have seven interchanges: four in Franklin County and three in Douglas County.

"It's going to be a tremendous safety enhancement," Whitley said.

Once the new highway opens, the old, two-lane highway will be controlled and maintained by the counties instead of the state.

Comments

Poon 6 years, 9 months ago

This has Vast Asphalt Conspiracy written all over it. Did you know that NASCO will be a multi-lane highway built only to further the evil plans of VAC. The highway will completely destroy all of TX, OK, KS, MO, IA, MN. Then we will have truck from all American Countries plowing through Lawrence unless will build a great big roundie to divert traffic around us. Then the gummit will track every vehicle on the highway from a black helicopter. Grab yer tin foil hats ladies and gentlemen, it is going to be a long ride...

snowWI 6 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for mentioning that point logrithmic. Yes, the truck traffic will increase exponentially with these intermodal facilities that are planned to be built. The one you menionted is for Gardner, but another one is also planned to be built at the site of the old Richards G airport in Missouri. This NAFTA Superhighway (FACT Or FICTION) is not a good thing.

avoice 6 years, 9 months ago

Wal-Mart. The photo doesn't sufficiently show how the new highway takes a dramatic curve toward I-35 just a bit north of the Hwy 68 interchange, which happens to be the site of a Wal-Mart distribution center.

blessed3x 6 years, 9 months ago

avoice.So what's your point? Are you trying to say that the road was built solely for the benefit of the Wal-Mart DC? Because if it was (which is ridiculous) I say GOOD! Being an Ottawa resident, I love the idea of the truck traffic from all regions south having a route that pulls them off Main Street and out of the residential areas. Hwy 59, as it stands now, is consistantly one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the state. This project will make it much safer. Just like the SLT, however, had this project not been stalled by activist groups for more than a decade, the cost would have been much less.

Orwell 6 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, "safety." All the northbound traffic will continue to flow onto the non-access-limited four lanes, between the current north end of the two lane highway and the Bridge to Nowhere, minimizing the safety benefits just where the traffic maximizes. At the south end, the last few miles into north Ottawa will likewise see no improvement. In between, local residents can go miles out of their way to find an access point to this new wonder of the world.We've got Wal-Mart taken care of, though.

Jayhawk_N_Denver 6 years, 9 months ago

logrithmic:What do you mean by "Now that we understand that Wal-Mart has a distribution center coming to Ottawa..." Hasn't it been there for a long time? Over 10 years at least. Am I lost? Is a new one coming? Growing up in Baldwin, I've known several people who have been in serious accidents on 59. My parents travel that road all the time. If it makes the drive safer, I'm all for it.

monkeyspunk 6 years, 9 months ago

I am sorry, I cannot see one reason why this road should not be built. It is easily the busiest stretch of 59 in Kansas, and is definitely the worst stretch south of Lawrence. It already has a decent amount of truck traffic, even with how poor the road is. Did it need four lanes now? Maybe not, a super 2 would have been adequate, but to argue that the road didn't need any improvments....I am sorry but you are going to have trouble convincing anyone who travels that road regularly of that.I have traveled on 59 from Lawrence to SE Kansas so many times at all times of the day and of the year. This road needed widened and improved at the very least.

ksmax 6 years, 9 months ago

I have traveled this stretch of Highway all my years of driving. The four lane highyway is the only way to go. There is absolutly no where to pass safely. It is inevitible that you ( I ) always seem to find the sunday drivers. It is a highway, if you can't do the speed limit, maybe you sould stick to the side streets. Life is to hectic and busy to dilly dally on the highway. Not to mention some can be safety hazards as well. My family and loved ones travel this highway, and I would love to see that the odds of an accident may be decreaced. I am so looking forward to this project being completed. As for the intermodal going in by Gardner, this is also going to supply VERY good jobs to hundreds of family's that can use better benefits and better pay in this ever downward spiraling economy. Maybe instead of complaining about everything, we should all try to see the bright side to such projects. Jayhawk in Denver you are right the Walmart DC has been in Ottawa for many years. Right of I-35 and 68 hwy.

MrMister 6 years, 9 months ago

I have never been on 59 hwy ANY time when anyone was driving below the speed limit. They are always above it. that is the problem. The road isn't as dangerous as the drivers. It did need to be updated though,

Larry Bauerle 6 years, 9 months ago

If you have been on 59 and not gone less than 55 you must be going in the middle of the night. I ALWAYS get stuck behind slow traffic and can't pass due to the traffic flow. I can't wait until the 4-lane is finished.

speedykitty 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't interpret the comments to mean that the freeway goes right to WalMart Distribution Center's main gate. The new U.S. 59 connects to I-35 with a closed flyover, and there are no ramps to the surrounding area for commercial development, etc. A few blocks to the southwest, on I-35, an off ramp leads to K-68 with a stop sign at the bottom. The WalMart gate is probably about 1 1/2 miles left to the east. K-68 also goes on east to US 71 on the Missouri side of the line, convenient for the DC.No question, drivers exceed the 55 mph speed limit on Hy 59, but even more scary are the ones who pass on hills, curves.People think their "getting there" is more important than safety considerations. Listen to the squeals about the 4-way stop at Baldwin Junction. Oh, the extra gas it takes...Oh, the time it takes to stop, wait, and start. Should have been done several deaths ago. Mellow out people........

Centerville 6 years, 9 months ago

I'll be glad to use it. I travel 59 often and I've seen every type of traffic problem that a heavy mix of vehicles on two lanes can cause. Every time I come out the other side of Baldwin Junction I breathe a sigh of relief.

snowWI 6 years, 9 months ago

ksmax,I don't think everyone is completely in favor of the huge intermodal facility going into Gardner. Positive and negative aspects are QUITE apparent. Read these articles:http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/548169.htmlhttp://www.kansascity.com/115/story/530701.htmlhttp://www.kansascity.com/business/story/530440.html

DMH1983 6 years, 9 months ago

It amazes me how much people like to complain about big truck traffic. How exactly do you think the products you buy get to stores? Take milk for example. When a dairy farmer purchases stock they are hauled by a truck and trailer. Then a tanker truck picks up the raw milk. Once the milk is ready for consumption, a truck deliveries it to stores. Three trips in a truck for one product. Instead of complaining about truck traffic, why don't we all drive like we have some sense and make the job of being a trucker a little less stressful and ourselves a little safer. I am not one for spending taxpayers money on useless projects and I do not see this as such a project. To me, the money is actually going towards something that should have been done 20 years ago.

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