The city’s summer street work seems to be getting off to a slow start. City crews have started working on some curb replacement projects in residential areas of west Lawrence and are filling cracks in some streets, but the major projects planned for this summer have yet to get under way.
The bid on one of the city’s larger summer projects was only approved by city commissioners this week. That project is to use money generated by a new city sales tax to repave Ninth Street from Iowa to Tennessee streets and add a left-turn lane for eastbound traffic turning north at Avalon Road.
City officials have acknowledged the need to have that important route back in service by the time Kansas University students return in August, so why didn’t the city have the project ready to go immediately after KU graduation? The project still is scheduled to be completed by the time KU opens, but, if it isn’t, city officials may regret the two or three weeks of work time that were wasted at the beginning of the season.
Local motorists also can look forward to even longer traffic disruptions from a project to rebuild the intersection of North Second and Locust streets, just north of the Kansas River bridge. Some delays in getting that project started ended up having a silver lining when the city received $2 million in federal stimulus funds to help finance the work. On the down side, the construction isn’t expected to start until July and will stretch into the late fall or even early winter when weather delays become far more likely.
Lawrence street crews and contractors have done an admirable job in the last year or two of finishing projects on or ahead of schedule. Maybe they will do the same this year, but this summer’s sluggish start causes concerns.
Keep your fingers crossed.