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Archive for Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thousands of vehicles to roll across new bridge today

Rex Fleming, project engineer for the Kansas Turnpike, stands on a new Kansas River bridge that is expected to welcome traffic today. He said traffic heading west would move onto the bridge when there’s a break in the weather.

Rex Fleming, project engineer for the Kansas Turnpike, stands on a new Kansas River bridge that is expected to welcome traffic today. He said traffic heading west would move onto the bridge when there’s a break in the weather.

October 22, 2009

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After spending nearly $60 million, working for more than 16 months and — under light rain Wednesday afternoon — watching the final squeeze of sealant into holes securing one last expansion joint, Rex Fleming is ready to steer 15,000 vehicles onto the Kansas Turnpike’s newest bridge.

And he’s asking drivers to close their cell phones, ease off the accelerator and pay close attention while spanning the Kansas River today on new concrete for the first time since the turnpike opened more than a half century ago.

“It’ll be a change for people,” said Fleming, project engineer for the ongoing $130 million project, scheduled to be finished by the end of 2011. “The first time you come through something different, you have to be sure where you’re at. But over time, it will become natural.”

Here’s the schedule for traffic changes that will start a mile east of Exit 204 and extend a half mile west of Exit 202:

• Westbound traffic will be squeezed to one lane today, and steered onto the new bridge. Two lanes will be open by the weekend, in time for fans to arrive for the Kansas University football game.

• On Monday, traffic heading east will be down to one lane, before being switched onto the new bridge — using two narrow lanes — by the end of the week.

The changes will remain in effect until the end of next year, when a second new Kansas River bridge is scheduled to be finished.

Comments

MartyT 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't mean to sound like a cynical killjoy here, but I cannot image how this new utilitarian slab is going to change anything for anyone.

It could have, perhaps, if the KTA had actually built something inspiring; Millau Viaduct is a good example:

http://fxts.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/millau-viaduct-france-200709091.jpg

EdenPrairie87 5 years, 2 months ago

I do like the new Topeka Boulevard Bridge but comparing the I-70 Kansas Rivers bridges to it is like comparing apples to oranges. If KTA actually would've built beautiful and inspiring bridges, half the people would complain about KTA wasting money and the other half would demand the same treatment be done to their sections of the turnpike. When the time comes to replace the Massachusetts Street bridges, we should look into building beautiful and inspiring bridges (but then half the people of the city would complain about the city wasting money).

blindrabbit 5 years, 2 months ago

Eden : Totally agree! Problem is, Kansans like vanilla. Most think that anything that enhances the attractiveness is a waste of money, or at least unecessary. Plenty of attractive bridges around the country, just not here.

Danimal 5 years, 2 months ago

They went with the slab bridges because they can put them up very quickly. I think it had more to do with speed of installation and utility. If we want to gripe about ugly bridges, we should be talking about the downtown bridges.

Crain 5 years, 2 months ago

Come on folks....this is just a bridge. The function is to move traffic at a rate of speed and flow set by standards. Since I travel the turnpike allot, I am looking forward to this. The whole point to Mr. Fleming's comments was to get people to slow down and pay attention to the new traffic flow pattern. He is just trying to get those that don't pay attention, to do so, to avoid accidents.

puddleglum 5 years, 2 months ago

avoid accidents. that is like jumbo shrimp.

password 5 years, 2 months ago

Danimal (Anonymous) says…"If we want to gripe about ugly bridges, we should be talking about the downtown bridges."
What downtown bridges are you referring to?

eotw33 5 years, 2 months ago

Probably the ones that are downtown

jackpot 5 years, 2 months ago

Used the new bridge today, for 60 million, maybe next time we can spend a little more and get rid of the drop off on the west end.

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