Once construction begins in July, drivers heading from downtown into North Lawrence will be detoured around the intersection of North Second and Locust streets.
Traffic will be diverted east onto Elm Street, then north on North Third Street — across the railroad tracks — to Lyon Street, then west back to North Second Street.
Traffic headed south, toward Lawrence, will be squeezed into one lane on North Second Street, passing Johnny’s Tavern.
Rebuilding a busy intersection in North Lawrence is set to begin this summer, and city officials are planning — hoping, anyway — to get the work done sometime next spring.
Left-turn lanes will be added for traffic at North Second and Locust streets, an intersection whose corners are occupied by Johnny’s Tavern, small shops, the Lawrence Visitors Center and a municipal parking lot. Plans call for drainage improvements, too.
Come June, the city should get an idea of who might be willing to take on a job that could command as much as $3.2 million or even more, at a time when contractors are hungry for work during an economic downturn.
And officials will be hoping that the work, or at least most of it, gets done by sometime next spring. That’s when the Kansas Turnpike Authority plans to close its east Lawrence interchange — the one across from the I-70 Business Center, a mile to the north — for eight months, for reconstruction of its own.
Having one major access point to North Lawrence closed and another severely limited isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.
“We’re all hopeful that all our projects go quickly and efficiently and that all our worst fears don’t happen,” said Chuck Soules, the city’s director of public works.
City officials have been planning the project since 2005. The Kansas Department of Transportation agreed earlier this year to pump $2 million of federal stimulus funds into the project, and officials expect construction to begin in July.