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Archive for Tuesday, March 9, 2010

City may rebuild Iowa St. for $5M

Engineers seek project after harsh winter beats up road

In this 2010 file photo, Willie Harris, with the Public Works Department, fills a pothole with “cold patch” on Iowa Street

In this 2010 file photo, Willie Harris, with the Public Works Department, fills a pothole with “cold patch” on Iowa Street

March 9, 2010

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Iowa Street project possible

A $5 million project to repair Iowa Street will be presented to the city commission on Tuesday. The project would look to complete some major repairs on the weather-blasted road. Enlarge video

23rd Street repairs

City engineers know that Iowa Street isn’t the only major roadway that has been battered by the winter weather.

Plans are under way to speed up a project to repave 23rd Street from Haskell Avenue to the eastern city limits. The state has committed $350,000 to repave the stretch of road, but the state’s normal timeline would not allow that work to begin until August.

Lawrence Public Works Director Chuck Soules said he believes the city has reached an agreement with the state to allow that work to begin as soon as school is out in late May.

Currently, there are no plans to entirely rebuild that stretch of road. Instead, Soules believes the city can do extended work on the joints of the road to correct many of the pothole problems.

Mother Nature has pounded Iowa Street this winter, and now the city’s engineers are ready to wave a $5 million white flag.

At their meeting this evening, city commissioners will receive a recommendation from engineers to begin design work for a $5 million rebuilding of Iowa Street between Yale Road and the Irving Hill overpass.

Originally, plans called for the section of street to receive a standard repaving, but this winter’s harsh weather caused engineers to rethink that strategy.

“We have had some areas that have just failed,” Chuck Soules, director of public works, said. “We’ve thought about it a lot, and we’ve come to the conclusion that if we repave it, we’ll just be covering up a problem.”

The change will require a major reshuffling of the city’s street maintenance program. Commissioners previously had approved an $850,000 project to repave and do major median, curb and sidewalk work to Kasold Drive between Sixth Street and Peterson Road. Now, engineers are recommending that much of that project be delayed in order to do major patching and paving work on Iowa and several other streets.

Soules said that even if commissioners approve the rebuilding of Iowa, major patching work is needed because construction work won’t begin until 2012.

“We’re going to have to do something in the interim, or we won’t be able to use the road,” Soules said.

Other streets that are expected receive patching and paving work from the $850,000 being redirected from the Kasold project include:

• 31st Street from Ousdahl Road to the eastern edge of the city’s maintenance territory.

• Louisiana from 19th to 23rd streets.

• Sixth Street from Monterey Way to Folks Road.

• Kasold from Fifth Terrace to Peterson Road.

The Iowa Street project also is expected to reopen a major neighborhood debate. Engineers are recommending that commissioners consider adding a center turn lane to the section of Iowa Street.

During the past two years, there have been 61 accidents on the stretch of road related to vehicles turning onto or off the side streets that connect to Iowa.

Some neighbors, though, have previously fought efforts to add a center turn lane because they fear it will encourage more motorists to use their neighborhoods as a shortcut to Kansas University.

“I’m not sure what the position will be,” said Robert Lewis, vice president of West Hills Homeowners Association. “It has been pretty well divided in the past. But there are people who recognize something has to be done. It is dangerous. You have to be a jack rabbit to get out on Iowa.”

Mayor Rob Chestnut said he’s ready to have a complete discussion about Iowa Street.

“The traffic accident data tells us that we need to take another look at that turning lane again,” Chestnut said. “We have some significant issues on that road. We have issues on other roads, too, but Iowa between Ninth and Bob Billings is such a major, major part of our street system.”

Figuring out how to pay for the $5 million project will be part of the discussion. City staff members are recommending that $500,000 come from the city’s sales tax maintenance program; $200,000 from the state’s maintenance program for state highways; $400,000 from the city’s capital improvements program; $800,000 from a federal safety grant the city can apply for; and $1 million from federal funds the city annually receives for transportation projects.

That would leave the city with $2.1 million it would have to borrow to complete the project, assuming the city received the various state and federal funding it anticipates. Iowa Street is part of U.S. Highway 59.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. today at City Hall.

Comments

Kash_Encarri 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm too lazy to do the search on the articles, but wasn't Chucky quoted last year and earlier this year about what an amazing job their sloppy sealing was doing preventing potholes and road deterioration?

misseve 4 years, 8 months ago

how about adding ridge ct from 23rd to 24tth? and, S Murphy dr to that list... has anyone from the city TRIED to navigate that lately?

patrickj 4 years, 8 months ago

Chuck Soules... sounds a lot like chuck holes... are we sure that we can trust his judgement?

eatatrex 4 years, 8 months ago

Chuck Soules was way off on how great the roads would be after the sealing was done !!!

Joe Hyde 4 years, 8 months ago

I hear ya, misseve, on the Ridge Ct. question. Wow, that 1-block stretch has been bad forever.

My own personal favorite for a "love to see" road replacement is the entire length of E. 23rd St. from Learnard Ave. eastward across the Haskell Overpass to the hilltop near the former Don's Steak House. For drivers leaving and entering East Lawrence this is a heavy traffic "gateway" section of state highway/city street. Cost a fortune to rip it out and re-do it to Interstate highway specs (complete with improved drainage systems). But the public is already paying a fortune is "user fees" due to the increased need for front end alignments and wheel replacements after our vehicles hit all those holes and bumps. That section of E. 23rd is like flying through a mile of anti-aircraft fire.

TheBigW 4 years, 8 months ago

It's way about time they do something about 31st street.

CreatureComforts 4 years, 8 months ago

23rd from Iowa east until it opens up into 65mph...anyone, anyone?

Where does my money go in this darn town?!?!

Stuart Evans 4 years, 8 months ago

I'd definitely like to see a turning lane on Iowa. But they could also do away with some of the intersecting street cuts. Lets limit these to streets with stop lights and existing turning lanes.

leeroy_johnson 4 years, 8 months ago

The problem with this city is the cheap pavement and work they do when repaving roads. Going out on 23rd sucks. The roads are crappy but once you hit the high way, its smooth sailing. Every road in this city leading out improves drastically once you cross the city limits. Someone needs to look at the material being used and figure this out. There is no reason for Lawrence roads to be as bad as they are.

grammaddy 4 years, 8 months ago

How about 19th from Barker to Harper?!Some of those potholes are bigger around than the tires on my car. And what happened to the "fewer potholes" theory. Guess that's been proven wrong!!!

Jennifer Alexander 4 years, 8 months ago

I am with "grammaddy"

I know Iowa needs to be addressed. But when they repaved the "west" section of 23rd, I was so upset. What about 23rd from Mass Street to just past Harper? That section is a freaking mess! You have cut through the lanes just to dodge the holes. And, they are huge. I know a lot of roads in this city need help. But, 23rd Street is a major artery, as is Iowa. Those to me are the 2 roads that need IMMEDIATE attention!

tigerman03 4 years, 8 months ago

LOL! CreatureComforts...do you honestly think you can get ANYONE in this town to actually drive at least the POSTED speed limit on Iowa or 6th?!? Even when the roads aren't a "pothole-o-rama"...they just don't know what that skinny pedal on the right does...just open your window and listen to pleasant sounds of wear indicators singing their praises of good driving habits...

BigPrune 4 years, 8 months ago

Leeroy_johnson hit the nail on the head! Lawrence roads suck, state highways are awesome. Why is that? Take K-10 east and you can see the difference.

Bladerunner 4 years, 8 months ago

Misseve...Ridge Court from 23rd to 24th is a private street owned by the bank there. They are responsible for repairs. The whole city needs to atttention. Worst winter I can remember.

I_Bejewel 4 years, 8 months ago

Thank Goodness they're fixing 31st. I know it's not as heavily traveled as Iowa, but I have to travel it every day to get my son to SJHS and it sucks.

beaujackson 4 years, 8 months ago

PLEASE, NO LEFT TURNS ON IOWA WITHOUT TURNING LANES!!

Police records will show hundreds of thousands in damages because of lack of a turning lanes.

Wake-up city commissioners!

Hoots 4 years, 8 months ago

Iowa fell appart almost 2 years ago. Now that's being on the ball waiting so long. What a mess.

KsTwister 4 years, 8 months ago

If you hadn't taken a cheap job from a contractor the last time we would not be paying for it again. The city is a scam artist, rob Peter to pay Paul mentallity and it shows. Other cities still have their great streets----done the same time as Iowa was here, and they have MORE traffic. Plugged holes with patches that cause slick spots and accidents. FIND someone who knows how to do it right the first time!!! Tired of this bait and switch on the jobs being done.

KsTwister 4 years, 8 months ago

If you hadn't taken a cheap job from a contractor the last time we would not be paying for it again. The city is a scam artist, rob Peter to pay Paul mentallity and it shows. Other cities still have their great streets----done the same time as Iowa was here, and they have MORE traffic. Plugged holes with patches that cause slick spots and accidents. FIND someone who knows how to do it right the first time!!! Tired of this bait and switch on the jobs being done.

KsTwister 4 years, 8 months ago

If you hadn't taken a cheap job from a contractor the last time we would not be paying for it again. The city is a scam artist, rob Peter to pay Paul mentallity and it shows. Other cities still have their great streets----done the same time as Iowa was here, and they have MORE traffic. Plugged holes with patches that cause slick spots and accidents. FIND someone who knows how to do it right the first time!!! Tired of this bait and switch on the jobs being done.

Vinny1 4 years, 8 months ago

Concrete is the answer people.

Take a little drive down Kasold between 15th and Clinton some day. Notice how nice the road is. Notice what the road is made out of. That is your answer.

CreatureComforts 4 years, 8 months ago

The city seems to ignore one of the fundamentals of business - the cheapest is not always the cheapest. If you have to pay $500,000 twice, or $900,000 once, which one is cheaper?

letsgetwise 4 years, 8 months ago

30th Street, East of Lawrence Ave. and West of Harrison, there is a section in there that is almost looking like it's turning into a sink hole. For as newer that neighborhood is, that section of road is miserable. Also, 26th Street that goes from Iowa connecting to 27th Street, (goes from DQ by Holcom ballpark), that curve in there seems like every year it has to be fixed. I agree that maybe picking the cheapest bid is not the way to go here, and we are getting what we paid for (or less). That section of E. 23rd someone mentioned was completely redone less than 2 years ago. It had cracks and holes show up within months.

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