Archive for Tuesday, April 23, 2013

KDOT bridge projects on U.S. 56 causing headaches

April 23, 2013


Douglas County commissioners will be asked Wednesday to impose traffic restrictions on certain township roads near Baldwin City that motorists are using as detours to get around closed bridges on U.S. Highway 56.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is replacing three bridges on a 2.5-mile stretch of the highway between East 1400 Road to Sixth Street in Baldwin City. KDOT is also improving the highway intersection at Lawrence Street and Bullpup Drive.

Work on those projects began April 18. The new intersection is expected to be finished in early August while the bridge replacements are scheduled for completion in mid-October, just before the annual Maple Leaf Festival.

KDOT has established official detour routes via U.S. 59, Interstate 35 and Kansas Highway 33. But county officials say motorists are finding their own "unofficial" detours by way of township roads that are not designed to carry large volumes of traffic.

The projects are also reported to be causing traffic snarls for school buses in the Baldwin City school district, especially around the intermediate and junior high school buildings, resulting in students getting home from school later than usual.

Commissioners will be asked to approve resolutions posting 30 mph speed limits on portions of East 1400, 1500 and 1575 and 1600 roads, as well as North 200 and 400 roads.

In addition, commissioners will consider a resolution prohibiting commercial vehicles on those roads for the duration of the highway closure, and to approve dust palliative treatments on those roads.

County engineer Keith Browning stated in a memo to commissioners that he expects KDOT to reimburse the county for the estimated $34,500 cost of the dust treatment.

In other business, commissioners will discuss recommendations regarding the county's self-funded employee health insurance program.

The commission meets at 4 p.m. at the County Courthouse.


riverdrifter 5 years, 2 months ago

The 30 mph speed limit and dust reduction are good moves. They also need to include N 150 road. Traffic is sharply up on it as well. All these roads will be a circus when the farmers go to the fields in the next few weeks.

Countrygirlie 5 years, 2 months ago

I agree, N 150rd Needs to be included in both 30mph speed reduction and dust reduction. I live just after the railroad tracks, and the traffic has tripled since Thursday, Trucks are speeding down the road, the dust is horrible. They just put some new gravel on the road Wednesday and you can't even tell.

stneve 5 years, 2 months ago

KDOT should consider the kids & parents that live west of town. They should not be expected to turn a 4mile drive into a 30 mile detour to & from school.

Frank A Janzen 5 years, 2 months ago

Listen, this is NOT a 30-mile detour!!! I got stuck with this detour today trying to get from South Iowa Street to the Lumberyard Arts Center in Baldwin. When I got to Hy 56, the detour sign directed me south to I-35 east of Ottawa. From there up past Edgerton to Hy 56 in Johnson County!! Then back west to Baldwin. That's about 45 miles, and it took me about 50 minutes to run this trip back to Baldwin. I talked to people in Baldwin who live west of town, and they said they take county roads to and from town.

The problem is that, as this article hints, the people who live on those roads may not appreciate heavy traffic, especially on gravel roads which kick up dust. This bridge work is going to last till next October!!!! This is a really big problem. People should be warned to take the Haskell Street/Vinland road option to Baldwin, but how to notify people who are not aware of that route.

oneflewover 5 years, 2 months ago

You actually drove down to to 35 at Ottawa and back up? You are admitting to that? Come on people, I know it's not customary this day and age but think for yourself.

BringBackMark 5 years, 2 months ago

.Temporary detours should've been constructed around the three bridge sites and the road left open. Yes this saves KDOT money but in the big scheme it's costing the public much more than the detours would have. I can't believe the county didn't have some say in this matter and would've strongly recommended against this ridiculous detour system currently in place.

Tradways 5 years, 2 months ago

They blocked it off on the 18th a Thursday before the weekend and still no work being done.

LawrenceTownie 5 years, 2 months ago

Two routes KDOT should have used: For people going south from Lawrence on highway 59, they should have had the detour go east on road N. 650 Road. That blacktop road takes you all the way to another blacktop road, E. 1700 Road. A right turn will take the driver into Baldwin on 6th street. A driver on I-35 should have been detoured north on Tennessee Road, just east of Ottawa. That blacktop would have taken the driver to 6th street in Baldwin too. Just goes to show how much KDOT does NOT know about roads after all.

sprocket69 5 years, 2 months ago

I live on 56 Hwy right in the middle of the road construction. The ONLY way for me to get from my driveway to anywhere is to go north on 1500 Road over a minimum of 3 miles of gravel road. As much as the residents there don't want us driving on those roads, we don't want to be driving on them either. It takes me 15-20 minutes to get into Baldwin now. In order to get to the school that's 2 minutes down the highway from my house, I now have to drive completely around the outside of town and down south of town in a big square because of the way the barricades are placed. I have called and voiced my opinion with KDOT already with the way they have done the staging for this project. It is poorly conceived and ridiculously executed.

LawrenceTownie 5 years, 2 months ago

Just a suggestion for you: Park a car at a neighbor house on the east and another one on the west end. Walk to the east car to get into Baldwin, you will know your neighbors really well and perhaps lose weight too. Walk to the west car to go to Lawrence or Ottawa, you will know your neighbors really well and perhaps lose weight too. Just a suggestion. The other suggestion will be to drive around the barricades. That is what my husband will do when his tractor and equipment need to go from our farm southwest of Baldwin to the farm north east. Just a suggestion.

gorilla10 5 years, 2 months ago

I have never seen a slower construction project than the new bridge on east 23rd. There are STILL cones in the middle of the bridge waiting to get the lines painted. The bridge went up quick but everything else has taken forever. Get the cones out of there and paint the dang street.....

Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 2 months ago

The story does not give any individual at KDOT by name. The top person at KDOT should respond directly to this article.

Also, the mayor of Baldwin City should respond, with his name.

In my opinion, this detour spells the end of Baldwin City this year for tourists as well as residents. And this is one of the Civil War's 150th anniversary years, when people will want to come to Baldwin City to see the Battle of Black Jack and the park, as it is the beginning of the Civil War.

But it will take 30 extra miles to see it and the city of Baldwin City. That's ridiculous!

KansasBeeMan 5 years, 2 months ago

So why is KDOT becoming the scapegoat in this entire event? The County and the City knew about what was going on and how much traffic will be diverted do to the detour set up by KDOT several YEARS ago when they had meetings in Baldwin. They should not be asking KDOT for reimbursement for stuff that county already knew was going to happen. Since KDOT is a state agency and not a local (like the city of Baldwin City) or a county agency (Douglas County) they are required to post their official state detour on ONLY state routes. They cannot tell the public to just dive random county roads like the county can. If you dont like their detour than take the paved roads around Baldwin City like county road 1055 that was recently redone and then take 600 RD (which is not gravel) to 59 Hwy (not gravel) up to Lawrence.

sprocket69 5 years, 2 months ago

Here is a link to the KDOT site which shows the detours outlined. You will see that the "unofficial detours" noted with dashed blue dots are the county roads.

LawrenceTownie 5 years, 2 months ago

This site shows Wellsville as the exit of the detour, but I can tell you that the detour signs had you exiting at Edgerton. They may have moved the detour sign, but two weeks ago it was at Edgerton, not Wellsville.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.