Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

City to seek bids on rebuilding portions of Bob Billings Parkway, Wakarusa Drive

April 2, 2013


Iowa Street motorists can’t have all the fun this summer.

Lawrence city commissioners on Tuesday ensured that there will be plenty of construction on portions of Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive as well.

Commissioners agreed to go out for bid on an estimated $1.2 million partial rebuilding of Bob Billings Parkway and a $1 million rebuilding of a small portion of Wakarusa Drive. Both roads were suffering from failing pavement.

“Anybody can see the condition of those roads,” said Chuck Soules, director of public works. “Something had to be done this year, or else we are just going to have a mess.”

The two road projects are in addition to a major rebuilding of Iowa Street from Yale Road to the Irving Hill Overpass, which has portions of Iowa Street reduced to one lane in each direction.

Details of the two latest projects include:

• Wakarusa Drive will be rebuilt from Research Parkway Drive to Oread West Drive. The project will include removing the existing pavement and replacing it with a 10-inch concrete driving surface. The road also will be widened to allow for a left-turn lane and a bike lane on each side of the street. A new six-foot wide sidewalk also will be added on both sides of the street.

• The eastbound lanes of Bob Billings Parkway between Kasold and Crestline drives will be replaced. The section of Bob Billings Parkway between Crestline and Iowa Street will have its eastbound and westbound lanes reconstructed. Left-turn lanes will be constructed in the medians throughout the project. A 10-foot wide walking and biking path will be constructed on the south side of Bob Billings Parkway between Kasold Drive and Iowa Street.

The Bob Billings Parkway project will require traffic on Bob Billings to be limited to one lane in each direction from Crossgate to Kasold during construction. The portion between Crossgate and Iowa will be closed to through traffic during construction.

The Wakarusa Drive project has a more complicated traffic plan. From late May to mid-July, the portion of Wakarusa Drive immediately south of Bob Billings Parkway will be closed to traffic. Once that section is completed, the portion of Wakarusa just north of Bob Billings Parkway will be closed. The Bob Billings intersection will remain open to north-south traffic throughout.

City commissioners were told special signs will be put up along the route directing motorists to businesses affected by the traffic. No one from the public spoke against either project at Tuesday night’s meeting, although city officials have heard from some of the affected businesses earlier in the process.

“We’re committed to trying to get this done as quickly as possible,” Soules told commissioners.

The city is set to receive bids on the projects in mid-April. Most construction won’t begin until after Kansas University finishes its spring semester. Work is expected to be completed by late August.


Curveball 5 years, 2 months ago

After it is fixed, how about renaming it West 15th Street instead of paying tribute to a multimillionaire real-estate tycoon?

bad_dog 5 years, 2 months ago

I wonder why there aren't any streets named "Curveball"? Perhaps it has something to do with adding value.

Hmm. Something to ponder.

HootyWho 5 years, 2 months ago

Is the intersection of Iowa Street and 6th going to be worked on? if so, with 15th street and wakarusa both being worked on, how are folks (me) who live on the east side of town going to get to work on the west side of town? in a timely manner?

Joe Berns 5 years, 2 months ago

9th street, 23rd street, farmers turnpike..

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