Archive for Thursday, July 30, 2009

Road work north of river causing traffic delays

Rocky Elliott, Tonganoxie, of C-Hawk Construction, Inc., lays down a yellow turn lane line Thursday at the north end of the Kansas River bridge to divert traffic off of North Second Street to a detour on Elm Street. The intersection of North Second and Locust was closed Thursday as crews began work to rebuild the intersection.

Rocky Elliott, Tonganoxie, of C-Hawk Construction, Inc., lays down a yellow turn lane line Thursday at the north end of the Kansas River bridge to divert traffic off of North Second Street to a detour on Elm Street. The intersection of North Second and Locust was closed Thursday as crews began work to rebuild the intersection.

July 30, 2009


Massive transit delays hit N. Lawrence

Work is under way on the reconstruction of a major North Lawrence intersection. Enlarge video

Signs are posted. Blockades are up. Construction equipment is moving in.

And cars are backing up.

Lane closures and a traffic detour shifted into place beginning this morning at North Second and Locust streets in North Lawrence, ushering in a system of disrupted traffic patterns that will be expected to last into early December.

The changes are part of a $2.63 million reconstruction project at the intersection, where new turn lanes, drainage inlets and an underground water line are to be installed. A persistent bump in the road also is to be removed.

Traffic heading south on North Second is now limited to one lane, and vehicles moving north are being steered onto a detour that involves Elm, North Third and — after crossing the Union Pacific railroad tracks — Lyon streets.

Even folks who might take a positive approach to such disruptions were having a difficult time adjusting Thursday.

“It’s not ideal,” conceded Ron King, a Lawrence insurance agent and member of the Lawrence Luncheon Optimists, which meets Thursdays at Johnny’s Tavern.

Rick Renfro, who’s owned Johnny’s since 1978 at the northwest corner of the intersection, said the detour added nearly nine minutes to his trip into work late Thursday morning.

“And that was without a train,” Renfro said.

Not that he’s complaining. More like adjusting.

Renfro now takes the Kansas Turnpike to get to and from Johnny’s. Spending a few cents to travel the turnpike is worth it, he said, so that he can take advantage of the single lane that remains open for traffic heading south on North Second.

Besides, he said, the construction project is a necessary one.

“I’m willing to pay the price for it,” Renfro said, referring both to the turnpike tolls and the larger, more-expensive hit his bar and restaurant business figures to endure through the end of Thanksgiving. “I’m sucking it up.”

The latest work comes as the Kansas Department of Transportation already has one of its own major projects underway: repaving an 11-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 24, beginning at Williamstown in Jefferson County and continuing east to the Leavenworth County line.

In between, hired contractors are busy scraping off two inches of pavement, mixing it in with fresh asphalt and then placing it back on the highway for a new, smooth surface.

It’s also forcing drivers to wait 20 minutes or longer for flaggers and pilot cars to lead them through the work zone, just a few miles north of where the city’s intersection overhaul is adding to the headaches. Crews were busy Thursday afternoon east of U.S. Highway 59 — that’s the extension of North Third Street — north of the Kansas Turnpike.

The KDOT project is allowing Renfro to look at the bright side once again.

“At least I don’t live in Lake Dabinawa anymore,” he said.


inglec 8 years, 6 months ago

There is another option then turning onto third street crossing the tracks. Traffic could continue on down Elm or Locust to 7th street crossing the track there which would elimnate some of the backup on third street. Just a thought.

puddleglum 8 years, 6 months ago

well, like leonard says, unless you are a black male road worker, you won't have any ideas how racist the traffic jams are around here.

jeffds01 8 years, 6 months ago

they should have considered repaving third street prior to this, because that is one of the worst paved roads in the city, and now everyone is forced to drive it

or go another mile out of there way to use 7th street.

this work certainly needed to be done, but should have been planned a little better. all of the roads people are now forced to use are in horrible driving condition

jeffds01 8 years, 6 months ago


what exactly do you mean by your comment?

countrygirl 8 years, 6 months ago

Maybe Johnny's should run some construction specials to encourage folks to come in.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 6 months ago

what's the time frame on the repaving of 24? this is a pain to get in/out of the business driveways along N.3rd with traffic parked for 15 minutes at a time.

jeffds01 8 years, 6 months ago

i agree country girl.....

specials def. encourage me

Jack Hope III 8 years, 6 months ago

7th Street out of town -- specifically under the I-70 overpass -- is pretty darn rough. But I will probably still use it.

As a North Lawrencian, I'm just happy they finally started this project. I suspect that this may lead to some good things happening on my side of the river... who knows, we may eventually get a grocery store and a laundromat. Yeah, I know I'm crazy.

puddleglum -- hopefully you are just making some obscure reference to a movie or something, because I have no idea what you are talking about.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 6 months ago

countrygirl I like it. Maybe a sign saying, don't let your road rage out, chill at Johnny's, your President would want you to. I still adore President Obama and being a sheeple and buying at J Crew and a burger at Five Guys, and now Bud. I will do whatever it takes to support my president.

morganlefay 8 years, 6 months ago

This road construction truly sucks for all the commuters up north traveling to work in Lawrence for work. I'm now looking at at least a 30 minute delay to get home because of this garbage. This should have been more planned out and these 2 construction projects should not be done at the same time. This really sucks for the commute to work and going home!

morganlefay 8 years, 6 months ago

Is there an easy route that commuters could take on backroads to get from north of Lawrence to the south side that bypasses most of the town all together? Any suggestions?!

gsxr600 8 years, 6 months ago

This work has to be done. Everyone should have known it was coming. Everyone should also know there is no efficient, traffic jam free way of going about this project. That being said, you've gotta suck it up.

And, would you care to elaborate puddledumb?

DillonBarnes 8 years, 6 months ago

The work on 24 shouldn't take long at all. I would expect it to be done within a day or two if it isn't already. They can cover some ground in those machines. They use propane to melt the asphalt and have about seven semi's with different jobs to peel off the old stuff and recycle it back with some new stuff. Cool to see if you ever get the chance.

morganlefay 8 years, 6 months ago

The work on 24 has been going on for at least several days and it's nowhere close to being done. They've only been working on the one lane so far. All you people saying the commuters just need to suck it up, wouldn't be so happy if it was your commute being screwed with!

Bobbi Walls 8 years, 6 months ago

For those of you that use 7th street, please slow down. 7th is not designed to handle cars going at 55mph and there are a lot of kids that walk along 7th to go to the park, and it will only increase when school starts on the 12th..

twinetowngirl 8 years, 6 months ago

especially with no crossing guards!! Hope the police are out when school starts....if not i have pen and paper handy to take down tags and file complaints!

Tongie_soccer 8 years, 6 months ago

I have decided to go to work through Bonner or DeSoto until 24 is done - the traffic this evening was crazy trying to get home to Tongie. At the very least they could open LV Couny 1 back up so we could go that way through Eudora - I understand the bridge is done, they are just finishing the turnpike ramps... Very poor planning by all involved. :-(

bearded_gnome 8 years, 6 months ago

What I saw this evening, traffic 2nd & Elm, 3rd & Elm, not bad, moving. a lot of people detouring themselves further east though, as inglec describes. some detouring to 7th and beyond.

whole lot more traffic on little Elm than usual.

agree with dbrm, in fact maybe some times during the day 7th & Elm needs an officer monitoring that intersection?

just glad this is getting done. sure was needed. drainage, safety, etc.

north lawrence will be better when this is all done.

maybe somebody should be an enterprising soul and open a roadside stand on elm before 3rd, sell sodas, hot dogs, maybe fans, etc.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 6 months ago

I just hope that garage on Elm between 2nd and 3rd doesn't have any big truck deliveries between now and December! sometimes those block that whole street there. wow, that could be so much fun!

illinijones 8 years, 6 months ago

I bet they directed traffic to N 3rd to avoid Woodlawn Elementary. Way too much traffic with all those kids before and after school. As a N. Lawrence resident, this is a good project. If we only had a grocery store I wouldn't even need to go over the bridge!!!! I can walk to Johnny's!

Staci Dark Simpson 8 years, 6 months ago

tongiesoccer - I agree! There is not a way for us to get to Lawrence without delays. We will be taking our business to KC until either county rd 1 or N 2nd is finished. It was ridiculous getting home tonight. Whoever planned to have all these projects going at one time needs their head checked. Sadly I work in Lawrence so I have to deal with this everyday. My shopping, movies, dining, etc will be done in KC from now on. Sorry Lawrence, you just lost our family's money.

Curtis Lange 8 years, 6 months ago

Sounds like I'll be taking the turnpike to Leavenworth until this fun stuff is done. :)

angelmom 8 years, 6 months ago

I really think we should tear up a few more roads. I never felt like I lived on an island more than I do now. I can't get anywhere without running into closed road and detours.

Jeteras 8 years, 6 months ago

waaaaaaa,,, cry about it.. Show some respect for these crews.. I work in the road more often that I want to and read me IT IS NOT FUN. but it is much more fun when people show me respect and slow down when they go by.. All of the traffic situations and detours are VERY well planned out and will work if people RESPECT how they work. The Reclaim on 24 has a long wait because this specialty repaving takes a VERY long equipment line. I really feel for this crew because they have to deal with this.. This is the crew that lost a worker and a KDOT inspector on 59 two years ago due to idiots that think a 10-20 min delay is more important to someones LIFE! Leave the f$#%ing house earlier!! It isnt like you dont know this is going on...

Jeteras 8 years, 6 months ago

you are welcome to be a flagger. The exchange did not take 5 mins you had been waiting for awhile and were pissed off most generally. Most of them are temp help,, you can do it too for $7 an hour.. sometimes it happens and they have to be told to keep the traffic moving. Just a "not fun" job and to be honest one of the most important ones on the crew its a bad tradeoff. I think if flaggers where paid better the could get some better help

Jeteras 8 years, 6 months ago

sometimes traffic does have to stop altogether when down to one lane, and they could have been told on the radio to hold traffic.. Shuffling trucks in a paving line takes time sometimes a paver is 12' wide and that takes up one whole lane... You dont witness this unless you have worked around this type of equipment before,, it can be a mess and you dont want traffic blowing through when there is a problem!

BrianR 8 years, 6 months ago

A 30-minute delay!?! I went through that mess twice yesterday, even stopping for a train once, and wasn't delayed 30 minutes.

purplesage 8 years, 6 months ago

The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing may be a positive observation for acts of true charity. But it isn't a good thing in the road construction business. Consider the dilemma facing anyone driving in from the north. Highway 40 - a little construction at about At. Margaret's; Farmer's Turnpike - closed; Highway 24 - pilot car for repaving; N 2nd.- see the article; and even if you were to try to get to SE Lawrence by ducking over through Eudora - County Road 1 in LV CO - closed. Does anyone confer with anyone else on the timing of this stuff. It would appear not - unless, the objective is to make getting to work and town as difficult as possible. One more suggestion: get that bridge project moving on I-70 and shut down the Turnpike, too.

inglec 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm wondering if most of the people complaining about the work on N 2nd even live in north Lawrence or just commute to work. You take the turnpike from west to east Lawrence for 25 its a little out of your way at least you get to work on time. If you make this commute to work on N 2d aren't you feed up with that hump at the intersection of N 2nd and Locust? I am all for safety when it comes to the school children, so slow down and keep your eyes open.

We who live in north Lawrence are the last to receive any street improvements. Lyon street is a mess from 3rd to7th and there are numerous large trucks on that street throughout the day. We are the last part of town to have the snow plows during the winter. Come on people don't we deserve to have some improvement?

Kat Christian 8 years, 6 months ago

Why does it take people so long to turn a corner? I could run faster than their car. Put some gas to the pedal people. Had this woman taking a right turn in front of me at Lyon onto 3rd Street - nothing in the way- no traffic coming obviously and going 2 miles just to turn the corner. These are the sort of people that have no business having a driver's license. They should take the bus. Folks there is NO stop sign after you turn off the bridge to go left over the railroad tracks YOU DON't HAVE TO STOP if the way is clear to turn left. Stop holding up traffic. So rude.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 6 months ago

I love how Seamus criticizes a low-pay flagger for having a friendly conversation and holding him up for 5 minutes...when he doesn't know what her instructions were at the time!
yet, hypocritically, he beefs about turning the Farmers Turnpike into a speedway. hypocrisy. it is entirely possible that that flagger was instructed to hold traffic until a certain time.
*you know, that's one of the basic things flaggers do. oh, I realize this might be a revelation.

looks more like Seamus put on his grumpy shirt today. should be made to stand in the corner until he finds a better attitude.
if not, take his grahamcrackers and milk away from him.

in fact, with that attitude, he's probably a very unsafe driver anyway.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.