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Archive for Sunday, June 7, 2009

Farmers’ Turnpike to get $1.6M facelift

Terese Gorman, engineering division manager for Douglas County, describes the $1.63 million project project to revamp, rebuild and even relocate a section of Douglas County Road 438 -- commonly known as the Farmers Turnpike -- at the northwestern edge of Lawrence.

June 7, 2009

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Construction will begin Monday on a section of Douglas County Road 438, also known as Farmers’ Turnpike, from the intersection with the South Lawrence Trafficway west to Douglas County Road 1029 near Lecompton. Pictured in the foreground is the widened section of 438 that continues to Lecompton. In the background at the curve heading east will be the western edge of the new construction area.

Construction will begin Monday on a section of Douglas County Road 438, also known as Farmers’ Turnpike, from the intersection with the South Lawrence Trafficway west to Douglas County Road 1029 near Lecompton. Pictured in the foreground is the widened section of 438 that continues to Lecompton. In the background at the curve heading east will be the western edge of the new construction area.

Work to rebuild a 2.26-mile section of the Farmers’ Turnpike begins Monday, but the real detour-causing holdups won’t arrive for another few weeks.

The section of road formally known as Douglas County Road 438 is getting a $1.63 million overhaul, stretching from its intersection with the South Lawrence Trafficway west to Douglas County Road 1029, which is the curve that leads north toward Lecompton.

Crews led by Perry-based Hamm Construction Inc. will be repaving lanes, adding paved shoulders and making roadside drop-offs more gentle, all with a goal of improving driver comfort and security.

The work also will include cutting tops off hills and filling in dips below, moves designed to improve sight distances for the 4,000 drivers who use the road each day — whether they’re passing through or turning in and out of rural driveways along the way.

“It’s a huge safety improvement,” said Terese Gorman, the county’s engineering division manager.

During the past five years, drivers have been involved in 29 accidents along the stretch of road, Gorman said. Eight have caused injuries.

Of the five vehicles that left the road, she said, three overturned.

Such statistics are among the main reasons the county sought to overhaul the road, Gorman said. Adding paved, 8-foot-wide shoulders and extending roadside slopes should go a long way toward reducing the chances of injuries.

The improvements also should help prevent accidents in the first place, Gorman said, which would be good news for all.

“Those accidents can be pretty severe, especially at 55 miles per hour,” she said.

To get such safety upgrades, though, drivers and nearby residents will need to sacrifice some convenience.

Beginning Monday, crews will start extending box culverts that run beneath the road. The work will occur at the side of County Road 438, leaving the Farmers’ Turnpike open for traffic.

Drivers may face minor delays as trucks arrive to drop off loads of concrete, Gorman said, but overall traffic effects should be minimal.

That all will be expected to change later this month, when crews are set to close the entire stretch to start reconstruction. The tentative date for closure is June 29.

While access for local traffic will be maintained, all through traffic will be steered onto a detour that uses the South Lawrence Trafficway, U.S. Highway 40 and County Road 1029.

The detour will add about 3.5 miles to the trip.

Officials expect the Farmers’ Turnpike to be reopened by Nov. 21, in time for Thanksgiving.

Comments

average 5 years, 6 months ago

Paved shoulders should also help reduce car/bicycle conflicts common to that stretch, while encouraging more cycling. Even better will be to figure out a way to connect the last half-mile between the north end of the SLT path and this widened road to Lecompton.

scott3460 5 years, 6 months ago

Walmarts, stoplights, more construction eventually to widen the road will follow, along with all the other scars of "progress" and "development." 1.6 million to make the road safe for those too stupid to drive safely. What a shame. Kiss another beautiful stretch of Kansas countryside goodbye.

bigbro 5 years, 6 months ago

This great timing for the commuters now that north Lawrence is under construction also. Why don't they work on one road at a time.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

I never realized it needed work. Seemed like it traveled fine and rarely much traffic certainly not enough traffic to warrant $1.6 million.

somebodynew 5 years, 6 months ago

Obviously a bunch of negative comments from people that don't live or travel that stretch of road. I do, and am glad to see this.

Stuart Evans 5 years, 6 months ago

"used more for truck traffic."


exactly right this is used more for truck traffic. without trucks you don't get squat. everything you have or want was brought to you on a truck. these guys need good highways just like the rest of us and they need to be safe. suck it up and deal with it.

kasper 5 years, 6 months ago

i love suvs and i drive all over the place in my suv for no apparent reason but to go to walmart and help overheat the globe so kansas can be flooded by the ocean. i dont really see why we should improve infrastructure we should all just sit around and wait for doomsday

Stuart Evans 5 years, 6 months ago

Jack.. where do you think the trucks start? many of them start at farms. where do you think the farms are? that's right, NOT connected to the interstate. There is a reason to connect a road for farmers to the interstate. it's so they don't have to drive their trucks through the middle of town. and trains.. yea, we're gonna pay for spur tracks to join up to every single farm in America... good thinking. these trucks that use this road are primarily farm and local manufacturing. the farm trucks go to nearby processing plants (not cost efficient to put them on a train for 100 miles), the manufacturers trucks go to KC and put them on a train to go all over the country. at the other end of that track is another road for trucks to distribute their payload. your anger is misplaced and based on ignorance.

kasper 5 years, 6 months ago

i agree with norml. and as far as two major car companies go im pretty sure they went bankrupt because of greed with no intent to help the small guy who does all the work. just look around the rich get richer and the poor get poorer just the way the machine wants it

kasper 5 years, 6 months ago

lol. i bet you dont have you air conditioning on either

kasper 5 years, 6 months ago

thats good to hear just trying to get you riled up

Stuart Evans 5 years, 6 months ago

Jack, you might be the most crotchety old man i've ever run across in print...

kasper 5 years, 6 months ago

another reason to drive an suv so when i see jack tooling down the road at 45 while watching out for deer and tumbleweeds and accidentally plow into him going 100 zillion miles an hour my safe vehicle will protect me. hopefully all the extra fuel i have on board wont create an explosion. i would hate to see global warming take on any extra exhaust on my behalf.

kasper 5 years, 6 months ago

books screw that I'll just watch tv

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