Archive for Sunday, May 11, 2008

Heart of city getting brunt of roadwork

May 11, 2008

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The heart of Lawrence will have heartburn this summer.

Chuck Soules, director of public works, said one aspect that will make this year's summer road work unique is its location.

"There is going to be a lot of work in the heart of town," Soules said. "Usually, we're spread out a lot more. This year, we're kind of focused in a general area. We're asking for motorists to be patient."

Specifically, areas throughout downtown and Kansas University's campus will be busy work zones. Here's a look at some of the major projects.

¢ Massachusetts Street: Crews will mill and repave Massachusetts Street from Sixth Street to South Park. Work could begin as soon as June 1. During the milling of the street - the work that grinds the old pavement off - traffic will remain open on Mass. Street. But motorists should expect slow going and a bit of a bumpy ride. When the repaving work starts, crews will shut down a two- to three-block section of Massachusetts Street. Traffic may be kept off the closed sections for three to five days. Like the 19th and Louisiana project, the work is time sensitive. Soules said the project has to get done prior to downtown's annual sidewalk sale, set for July 17. Later in the summer - but after work is done on 19th Street - the rest of Massachusetts Street to 23rd Street will be repaved.

¢ Kentucky and Seventh streets: Work to repave Kentucky Street from about Sixth to 12th Street and Seventh Street from New York to Vermont streets also will happen in June and July. But Soules said crews will not close portions of Seventh or Kentucky streets during the time that portions of Massachusetts Street are closed.

¢ Indiana Street: Work related to the new Oread Inn hotel will cause Indiana Street from 11th to 12th streets to be closed to all traffic. Soules said the closing is expected to start shortly after KU's commencement ceremonies May 18 and last the entire summer.

¢ Ohio Street: Work already is under way to rebuild the brick portion of Ohio Street. The work has closed the 700 block of Ohio Street to through traffic. Soules said recent rains had slowed progress on the work, and he expected the project to last for most of the summer.

¢ Jayhawk Boulevard: The first phase of an $8.9 million project to upgrade KU's steam tunnel system will cause major traffic disruptions on campus. A 15-foot-wide by 15-foot-deep ditch will be dug west of Watson Library, across Jayhawk Boulevard and then angle northeast along Mississippi Street behind Lippincott Hall and Dyche Hall. A detour of Jayhawk Boulevard will be routed into what is now the front lawn of Watson Library. The detour is scheduled to last from May 20 to Aug. 11. Mississippi Street will be closed from Memorial Drive to Jayhawk Boulevard for the same period of time. Mississippi will reopen as a one-lane southbound street from Aug. 11 to Nov. 11.

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