Construction work to handle traffic at two Lawrence exits on the Kansas Turnpike will squeeze vehicles into single lanes in each direction this week.
Beginning today, the left lanes heading both east and west will be closed to allow for construction of traffic “crossovers” at the East Lawrence and West Lawrence interchanges, also known as Exits 204 and 202. The lane restrictions will be in place between mileposts 201 and 205, and will be expected to last through Friday.
The crossovers are necessary for an even larger traffic shift scheduled for later this year: moving both directions of turnpike traffic — nearly 30,000 vehicles per day — onto a new Kansas River bridge, still under construction north of the turnpike’s two existing bridges.
That traffic switch is scheduled to occur sometime before Thanksgiving, to give crews space and time to prepare for demolition of the existing bridges and construction of a new bridge in their place.
All of the work is part of a $130 million construction project expected to last until the end of 2011.