Before a contractor is hired to rebuild the southern stretch of Kasold Drive, city officials want to know just how much inconvenience nearby residents might be willing to endure.
And after 100 or so people showed up for a public meeting to discuss the project Monday evening, Chuck Soules is fairly confident that people likely would be willing to put up with a lot — if it means getting the project done sooner.
“Time is money,” said Soules, the city’s director of public works.
The meeting at the Holcom Park Recreation Center was the start of a public-involvement process designed to help the city’s hired engineers come up with a viable — and tolerable — plan for rebuilding Kasold, from Clinton Parkway to 31st Street.
While the estimated $6 million project will be expected to be disruptive for the 15,000 drivers who use the road each day, it stands to be especially so for the 300 or so who live just east of the crumbling road.
That’s because the neighborhoods to the east have only one way in and one way out: the four-lane section of Kasold, whose underground base has dilapidated to the point that potholes can’t hold their repairs, cracks can’t be stopped and resurfacing efforts ultimately prove futile.
“Let’s get it done,” said Ron Wroczynski, who’s lived on Glacier Drive for 13 years. “Let’s upgrade it. The road’s falling apart.”
Work is tentatively scheduled to begin in March on the reconstruction, which would replace the mile-long stretch of Kasold with one that includes five lanes: two lanes in each direction, plus a fifth that either would be a center turn lane or, perhaps, a greenspace median where applicable. Gaps between sidewalks would be filled, and an existing recreational path would be extended to connect to the sidewalk network.
While the scope of the work is largely settled — there’s still some question as to whether a right-turn lane will be added for traffic heading onto East 1200 Road, which runs south to the South Lawrence Trafficway and beyond — the schedule and cost remain a work in progress.
Soules said that the city likely could save time and money on the project if the entire stretch of Kasold could be closed to through traffic during construction, which would be expected to last six to nine months. Temporary roads, some made from gravel, would help nearby residents get to their homes.
Keeping Kasold open to through traffic during the project, meanwhile, likely would mean “10 months to more than a year” for construction, Soules said.
“We haven’t made all the decisions yet,” he told Janice Lewis, who lives just east of Kasold. “We’re looking for input.”
Lewis, who would prefer that the city keep Kasold open during construction, took that as a good sign. “At least you’re asking,” she said.