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Archive for Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New bridge in business

$4.3M project modernizes 23rd St.

October 24, 2012

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Westbound traffic on 23rd Street between Haskell Avenue and Barker Avenue travels on the new bridge Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. During construction of the bridge, 23rd Street traffic had been moved onto shoo-fly detours. Two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane are now open on the bridge. Crews soon will begin to remove the shoo-flies and complete work on frontage roads on each side of the bridge. This view is from the west end of the bridge looking east on 23rd Street toward Haskell Avenue.

Westbound traffic on 23rd Street between Haskell Avenue and Barker Avenue travels on the new bridge Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. During construction of the bridge, 23rd Street traffic had been moved onto shoo-fly detours. Two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane are now open on the bridge. Crews soon will begin to remove the shoo-flies and complete work on frontage roads on each side of the bridge. This view is from the west end of the bridge looking east on 23rd Street toward Haskell Avenue.

Lawrence motorists, your commute along 23rd Street got a little flatter on Wednesday — and a little less rooted in the Great Depression era, too.

A new $4.3 million bridge on 23rd Street between Haskell and Barker avenues partially opened to traffic Wednesday, and motorists immediately began to notice the bridge no longer sits atop a large hill.

“I think they lowered the bridge by 8 to 10 feet,” said Dave Cronin, Lawrence’s city engineer. “I have heard a lot of good things from people who have driven over the bridge today and said it was a huge improvement.”

The flatter road is expected to improve safety by increasing the sight distance for motorists pulling onto 23rd Street at both Learnard and Barker avenues.

Motorists, though, won’t completely have smooth sailing over the bridge yet. Only three of the four lanes currently are open on the bridge, and that likely will be the case until midwinter, said Kim Qualls, a spokeswoman with the Kansas Department of Transportation. Currently, the two westbound lanes are open but only one eastbound lane is open across the bridge. Crews are still working to install a concrete median on the bridge and make other finishing touches.

But leaders with both the city and with the Kansas Department of Transportation, which funded and designed the project, said they were particularly pleased that thousands of motorists a day no longer were traveling over a bridge that was more than 80 years old.

The previous 23rd Street bridge was built in 1931 and was widened in 1971. In recent years, signs of the bridge’s deterioration had become more obvious as portions of the pavement near the bridge had begun to dip and ripple.

“There was an abutment that kept settling, and there were just issues with the old abutments in general,” Cronin said.

The new bridge takes care of those issues, and adds several amenities including a wrought iron-style pedestrian railing, ornamental street lamps, and a wider driving surface. The new bridge is 14 feet wider than the original bridge, although the center portion of the new bridge will be occupied by a stamped concrete median once the project is complete.

Lawrence-based RD Johnson Excavating was the primary contractor on the project, and Qualls said KDOT was pleased with how smoothly the project went.

“The fact that we were still able to keep two lanes of traffic flowing through the construction zone helped a lot,” Qualls said.

Comments

hipper_than_hip 2 years, 1 month ago

"...Qualls said KDOT was pleased with how smoothly the project went."

The project might have been smoothly executed but the pavement sure is wavy and bumpy.

lunacydetector 2 years, 1 month ago

agreed, the surface isn't very smooth at all. could it be because they layed asphalt down before they poured the concrete?

Mark Zwahl 2 years, 1 month ago

It would be really interesting to know what it cost and how it was paid for. Especially given that most of us noticed (I assume) that it is a bridge over nothing and they perhaps could have just filled it in and left a tunnel for foot/bike traffic.

average 2 years, 1 month ago

It is over 'nothing' in one sense (no rails and a non-essential road), but there is an actual dip there. Walk from Learnard to the Burroughs trail and say there isn't. The options were for the road to follow the dip (generally non-preferred), build an embankment/tunnel, or rebuild the bridge. My understanding was that building an embankment would have been a little cheaper but required closing 23rd altogether for a period or at least restricting it to one lane each way.

mdfraz 2 years, 1 month ago

Well, to answer your first inquiry "A new $4.3 million bridge ..."

Flap Doodle 2 years, 1 month ago

Dip and ripple sounds like a good band name.

Clark Coan 2 years, 1 month ago

It kinda looks like they severed the trail at this point. Maybe they aren't done yet, but it looks like they are forcing trail users on the Burroughs Creek Trail to go on the new access road under the bridge to reach the Haskell Rail-Trail. This makes it more dangerous for trail users because HINU students come whipping around that corner under the bridge.

The pavement put in along the new Dillons also is not smooth either, esp. at 17th St. I don't see why they let contractors get away with poor workmanship. I remember when they first paved the SLT from US 59 to the Farmer's Turnpike and just 5 years later it had to be repaved! The highway contractor should be required to give a 10-year warranty.

gccs14r 2 years, 1 month ago

Pavement is grooved to improve traction in the wet. There's no reason to make it lumpy.

gccs14r 2 years, 1 month ago

How about restoring lost education funding first before building yet another road that will need maintenance.

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