Archive for Friday, October 28, 2011

23rd St. bridge to be replaced

October 28, 2011


Replacing a bridge along East 23rd Street won’t stop fans fast-breaking into or out of Lawrence for KU basketball games this season, with crews shooting for having the new bridge in place by the time tailgating begins in the fall.

The off-season for Kansas University athletics is scheduled to be construction season for a general contractor, forcing 36,000 fans of driving 23rd Street each day to grapple with temporary access roads, reduced speed limits and prohibited left turns.

Look for the bridge between Barker and Haskell avenues to be closed in early April, removed soon thereafter and then replaced by September.

And when it comes to fans heading into town for basketball and football games, the hope is for no harm, no foul.

“We will be able to generally — generally — facilitate four lanes of traffic through construction, just as it is now,” said Kris Norton, project manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation. “There’s going to be times, yes, when maybe there will be less for shorter durations: one lane in one direction, and two lanes in the other.

“But while the bridge is out and while they’re building the new bridge, for six months, there will be two lanes in each direction. You’ll have to go slower, but it’s a lot better than one lane in each direction or, god forbid, closed.”

The $4.5 million project is necessary to replace a bridge that had been installed in 1931, then widened to four lanes in 1970. Such replacement projects typically require closing either half or an entire road, but engineers ruled out those scenarios along 23rd because of the road’s daily traffic.

That’s why, beginning in February, a contractor will be expected to start work installing a temporary access road on each side of 23rd. Each of the roads will carry two lanes of traffic, be illuminated by temporary street lights and carry speed limits of 30 mph or 35 mph, down from 23rd’s posted 45 mph.

Vehicles turning onto or off of the access roads will be limited to right turns only, to help keep traffic as safe and smooth-flowing as possible.

“It’ll be slower, but the capacity will be there,” Norton said.

The new bridge will have five lanes instead of four, plus a six-foot-wide sidewalk along the south side, protected from traffic by a concrete barrier. Along the north side of 23rd Street, the project will run a 10-foot-wide concrete path up to an existing rails-to-trails recreational path that runs underneath the bridge.

The rec path will be closed at 23rd during construction, but by November users will have a new parking lot just north of the bridge — a remnant of the temporary access road — for their use.

The project includes plans for concrete to be stamped and stained, to give the structure the appearance of stone. Rails also will be upgraded, and the entire profile will be lowered by eight feet, giving drivers the ability to see from Haskell to Learnard or even Barker.

Right now, drivers idling in traffic find themselves staring at a giant concrete hump.

“It’s going to be a beautiful bridge,” Norton said. “It’ll be a really nice entryway.”


Evan Ridenour 6 years, 8 months ago

This is great news. I run underneath that bridge almost daily and there are giant chunks of concrete just falling off of it all of the time. It is in some pretty bad shape...

nekansan 6 years, 7 months ago

Glad no one crosses that bridge except for game days. I guess I'll just jump on the SLT to get through to K10 while the construction is ongoing.

canusayduh 6 years, 7 months ago

I thought the same thing! This whole article is for KU fans, as if everyone cares about KU fans,number 1, and number worries about the residents at all. Too funny and presumptuous.

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 7 months ago

Just think of how painful it would be getting through there at 5:30/6:00 on a game day or immediately after a game. It would appear that they are thinking of the normal person and not just the KU fan, but of course that would ruin a perfectly good bi+c#.

Kat Christian 6 years, 7 months ago

Yep, you've got that right. Just like all the jobs in town are for KU students. The rest of the residents "the locals" are on welfare. Except for the few big money...who are most likely related to KU. DUH!!

CLARKKENT 6 years, 7 months ago


Terry Sexton 6 years, 7 months ago

The new bridge sounds nice. 31st street along with south Haskell will become a lot busier. So will county road 1057 I bet. Set me free with the SLT!

TikiLee 6 years, 7 months ago

Oddball: Beautiful. Moriarty: suppose the bridge ain't there? Oddball: Don't hit me with them negative waves so early in the morning. Think the bridge will be there and it will be there. It's a mother, beautiful bridge, and it's gonna be there. Ok?

Ewok79 6 years, 7 months ago

Ya know I would've thought that they could've planned a more efficent way to get in & outta town.......Guess not sigh No SLT & now 23rd is gonna be down to one lane.....Great Smh

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm thinking 19th will be the better bet if everyone else is headed to 31st.

MISTERTibbs 6 years, 7 months ago

"That’s why, beginning in February, a contractor will be expected to start work installing a temporary access road on each side of 23rd. Each of the roads will carry two lanes of traffic, be illuminated by temporary street lights and carry speed limits of 30 mph or 35 mph, down from 23rd’s posted 45 mph."

Yes, driving a little slower through that mile long section will be a real PITA. :-p

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

Ordinarily the traffic just zips through there, doesn't it?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 6 years, 7 months ago

Why is the bridge there at all?? There used to be railroad tracks from Lawrence to Baldwin and Ottawa, but they have all been removed years ago. Forget replacing the bridge, build a regular road and save the county piles of money.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

I expect it's because the railroad right-of-way has not been abandoned, even though the tracks have been removed and its been turned into a walking/biking trail, which gets very heavy use.

Coward_Blubliner 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm excited about this project and the proposed improvements.

I kinda see this project going smooooooth, always, like Keith Stone!

What is with the KNOLOGY internet flow? Is way worse than traffic flow.

Happy Hanukkah!

Joe Hyde 6 years, 7 months ago

It'll be wonderful having a new, lower elevation bridge at that location. And given the density of business entrances along both sides of East 23rd Street what would be even more wonderful (and safer) is having the speed limit through there lowered to 40mph.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 7 months ago

You guys act like people get to do 45 mph through there on a regular day, lol. I can probably count on one hand how many times I've been able to do the speed limit coming in to town and going out of town on 23rd. Amazes me how slow people drive on 23rd between Haskell and Harper streets...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.