Work to build new Kansas Turnpike bridges across the Kansas River is becoming a seven-days-a-week job.
And, come this summer, contractors’ crews could have cranes and concrete moving around the clock.
Driving the increased activity is the construction schedule, said Rex Fleming, project engineer for the Kansas Turnpike Authority.
Crews from United Construction Inc., the project’s bridge contractor, already are busy putting in a temporary bridge to connect the east bank of the river with the site of a new bridge pier in the middle of the Kaw.
The bridge is necessary for getting equipment out to the middle of the river, where crews need to pour a pier that will hit ground 15 feet below the river’s surface, then bore another 40 feet down.
“It goes all the way down to the bedrock,” Fleming said. “We’re going 13 feet into the solid rock.”
While crews’ Sunday shifts recently started, others are gearing up to work overnight. That will be in the spring and summer, when cooler temperatures will permit proper pouring for the bridge deck.
Fleming said passing motorists would know when workers were burning the midnight oil.
“People will see the glow,” Fleming said. “They’ll notice.”
None of the increased activity should be construed as the project being off schedule, Fleming said. The entire $130 million project — to replace the turnpike bridges and upgrade the turnpike’s West Lawrence and East Lawrence interchanges — continues on track for completion by the end of 2011, Fleming said.