Archive for Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Start your engines: Work on Kansas Turnpike near Lawrence wrapping up Wednesday night

October 25, 2011


For 29,493 daily users of the Kansas Turnpike, Wednesday evening promises to mark the first time in more than 40 months — or 1,238 days, or 29,699 hours, or 1,781,940 minutes — that all lanes and all ramps will be open to all traffic heading through all of Lawrence.

And not a second too soon.

“We’re excited to have it done,” said Rex Fleming, turnpike project engineer for the turnpike who has been managing reconstruction and replacement projects in Lawrence since 2008. “With our customers, they’ve had to drive through construction for over three years. We know that’s an inconvenience.

“Now it’s time to tell everybody it’s over. It’s done. Come and enjoy the wide open space.”

Two projects are set to be substantially complete as of Wednesday evening:

• Replacement of original turnpike pavement east of Lawrence, extending east and west of the Lawrence Service Area. The project had limited traffic to one lane in each direction during summer 2010 and since early this past summer. All lanes will be open as of Wednesday evening, Fleming said.

• Replacement of Kansas River bridges, plus upgraded interchanges and other changes along the turnpike as it passes through Lawrence. The project that began June 6, 2008, finally had all six lanes open in both directions for the first time a couple weeks ago.

Both jobs overhauled infrastructure that had been in place since the turnpike’s earliest days, after officials had broken ground along the banks of the Kansas River back on Dec. 31, 1954: The river bridges were built as part of the original turnpike, and a five-mile stretch of lanes east of Lawrence were the last to have their original pavement replaced.

Taken together, the two projects cost more than the $140 million that was spent back in the 1950s to build the entire 236-mile-long turnpike.


trailertrash 6 years, 7 months ago

Glad it's done but they could have done a better job on the west bound lanes and bridges....Really rough for a new roadway....

mfagan 6 years, 7 months ago

I asked Rex Fleming, the project engineer, if there was any minor work left to do and he explained that there still would be some "bump grinding" -- that is, milling down some rough spots -- to level out a couple areas of pavement... He may very well have been speaking about the section(s) you're referring to. If you've noticed it, I'm guessing he has. (But not the bridges; those are concrete, and he said the smoothing would be on asphalt...) Just to be sure, though, drop me a line -- either here or via email, -- regarding some specific locations, and I can see about forwarding them along his way... - Mark Fagan Schools reporter

eotw33 6 years, 7 months ago

Good no more stupid signs that say, "we know it's a pain, with only one lane"

Steve Miller 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder why it took so long with the dry weather and all ?

buffalo63 6 years, 7 months ago

Just hope that everyone will "drive friendly", especially over the new wider bridges.

kernal 6 years, 7 months ago

buffalo63, good luck with that. Coming home in the evening on K10, people keep their speed limit at 70 when the 65 is the posted limit and still at 70 when 45mph is the posted limit.

Everyone thinks he is a better driver than anyone else.

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

I think it has been a decade of "work". I hated the little white feel good signs, small lettering distracting in a construction zone and said nothing.

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