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Archive for Sunday, June 12, 2011

New U.S. Highway 59 in Douglas County to open in late 2012

June 12, 2011

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Traffic is stopped for culvert work on U.S. Highway 59 south of North 700 Road Wednesday, June 8, 2011, while crews continue work on what will be the new Highway 59 highway at right. Construction began in spring 2007 on the $240 million project between Lawrence and Ottawa. The project will widen the two-lane road to four lanes.

Traffic is stopped for culvert work on U.S. Highway 59 south of North 700 Road Wednesday, June 8, 2011, while crews continue work on what will be the new Highway 59 highway at right. Construction began in spring 2007 on the $240 million project between Lawrence and Ottawa. The project will widen the two-lane road to four lanes.

New surface up north

U.S. Highway 59 will be getting a new surface farther north.

A 24.9-mile section of the highway, running from the U.S. Highway 24 junction north to Kansas Highway 4 in Jefferson County, is slated for a $3.78 million repaving project later this year. The Kansas Department of Transportation has agreed to hire Bettis Asphalt & Construction Inc., of Topeka, to handle the job.

No contract timeline has been set, pending a meeting between the contractor and department officials.

Extension of the South Lawrence Trafficway may be slated to get $192 million from a new state comprehensive transportation program, but another major highway project in the area is accelerating toward completion.

Construction of a new U.S. Highway 59 freeway, from the southern edge of Lawrence south to the Douglas County line, is on track for completion in late 2012, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The four-lane freeway — complete with interchanges, wide shoulders and safe sight distances for drivers — is set to run for 10.53 miles. Already completed and in place are 23 bridges of various forms:

• steel girder, 11.

• concrete girder, 2.

• “haunched slab,” or concrete slabs supported by concrete pillars, 2.

• “bridge-sized boxes,” which look like concrete drainage pipes but in a rectangular shape instead, 8.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” said Kim Qualls, a department spokeswoman.

But there’s still work to do.

Crews have been busy grading the highway route, which is east of the current U.S. 59. They’ve already cleared 5.4 million of the 5.6 million cubic yards of material necessary to make way for the new highway and compacted 3.1 million of the 3.3 million cubic yards included in project plans.

Upper Plains Contracting starts work this month on prep work for its $12.1 million job: pouring a concrete surface for the section of highway that will run from the county line north through a new interchange at North 650 Road. That actual paving is set to begin in August and be finished by late fall.

Another section — from North 1000 Road north to where the current two-lane U.S. 59 turns into four lanes at the southern edge of Lawrence — is scheduled for paving later. The department expects to hire a contractor for that job, which calls for asphalt pavement, sometime this fall.

Finishing such work won’t end work in the project area. The department plans to spend 2013 addressing its responsibilities for replacing or upgrading sections of the existing U.S. 59 highway, sections of which will function as a frontage road for the new freeway version.

The Douglas County portion of the project is expected to cost more than $100 million. The portion in Franklin County, running nearly nine miles from the county line south to Ottawa, opened a year ago at a cost of $63.5 million.

Comments

Lawrence Morgan 3 years, 6 months ago

This is really going to change things over time. It will make Ottawa much more of a town for doing business, being close to the interstate, and it should make both Ottawa and Baldwin City much better for touristic reasons, if they take advantage of it.

Bob Forer 3 years, 6 months ago

I can't wait for the project to be completed. Its good for Baldwin and Ottawa, and also for Lawrence.

LogicMan 3 years, 6 months ago

For drives to Wichita, it will make going south to I-35 more attractive for many in northern Douglas County. So the northern leg of the KTA will lose a little traffic and tolls. Completing the SLT should more than make up for it, though.

Aileen Dingus 3 years, 6 months ago

LATE 2012? sigh Wasn't it supposed to be late 2011 or did I hear wrong?

I commute from Ottawa every day, and every time I see them working on the road I get all excited.

I don't know if I can sustain that excitement for another year. By the time it's all done I'll just say "oh look- a road." meh.

doc1 3 years, 6 months ago

Finally Progress. Lets get the SLT done too!

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