The Farmers’ Turnpike will be open for traffic Friday, more than four months after a major section of the road at the northwestern edge of Lawrence closed for reconstruction.
The $1.63 million project to rebuild a 2.26-mile section of the road isn’t finished yet, but the new pavement is in good enough shape to handle the 4,300 vehicles that normally travel along Douglas County Road 438 each day, said Keith Browning, county engineer and director of public works.
The road will open at 6 p.m. Friday.
When the project started in June, the county had set an open-to-traffic deadline of Thanksgiving — a schedule that had been challenged by wet weather this summer and fall, Browning said.
“We’re not done. There’s still work to do,” he said. “But it’s always good to get a major road project open by the holidays” when more people are traveling.
The reconstruction project rebuilt the portion of County Road 438 that runs from the road’s intersection with the South Lawrence Trafficway west to Douglas County Road 1029, which is the curve that leads north toward Lecompton.
Crews from Perry-based Hamm Construction Inc. handled the project, which was designed to improve safety for drivers by adding paved shoulders to both sides, and adjusting the road’s “profile” — essentially cutting down hills and filling in dips — to make it easier for drivers to see approaching and turning traffic.
Work started in early June, and the road section had been closed to through traffic since July 6.
Crews will return to the site this coming spring to make minor adjustments to pavement, plant seed along the sides of the road and otherwise generally “clean things up,” Browning said.