This summer's major road headache will be making an appearance tonight at Lawrence City Hall.
City commissioners at their weekly meeting will get a briefing on plans to completely close a major portion of 19th Street near Lawrence High School for much of the summer.
Chuck Soules, the city's director of public works, said the stretch of 19th Street from Ohio to Alabama streets will be closed to traffic from May 23 to Aug. 4.
"We understand it is a major roadway for the city, especially during the school year," Soules said. "That's why we're doing it during the summer months."
The road closure is part of a project to rebuild the intersection of 19th and Louisiana streets. The intersection will be widened to add new left turn lanes on 19th Street, a new bus turnout lane on Louisiana Street and a new traffic signal that will include video equipment to detect when traffic starts to back up.
Commissioners are being asked to sign the final documents on the long-discussed project. LRM Construction submitted the low bid for the construction project at $1.19 million. The Kansas Department of Transportation will pay for $294,000 of the project, with the school district paying $92,000 for the bus turnout lane and the city paying for the rest of the project.
Soules said work on the project could begin in the next few days, if city commissioners give final approval. He said there are many parts of the project that can be done without disrupting traffic. That includes replacing and relocating an old 1930s water main. The project also includes construction of a sidewalk on the northern side of 19th Street, and reconstruction of a sidewalk on the southern side of 19th Street.
The project also includes a complete replacement of the street's paving, with much of the asphalt being replaced by concrete.
"You drive down that street, and the condition makes it obvious that it needs to be rebuilt," Soules said. "There are a lot of potholes. We can patch potholes today, tomorrow, the day after that, but we would just keep patching them because the base is ruined on that road.
"We're going to replace it with a solid intersection that we don't have to rebuild for a long time."
Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. today at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.