Recent rains have helped to delay a couple of Lawrence road construction projects, potentially putting a speed bump into the city's plans to have much of the work done in time for Kansas University students' return to school on Monday.
Crews have been working feverishly on the road projects in recent days to try to get them done at or near their deadlines.
On Bob Billings Parkway, from Kasold to Crestline drives near the KU West Campus and leading toward the main campus, crews are expected to be done repaving the road by Friday, a few days before KU starts its fall semester. The project was pushed back about a week after the downpours earlier this month delayed paving.
"If we have a nice dry week, which it appears we will, they should be able to complete the street part of it this week and reopen it hopefully by Saturday," City Engineer David Cronin said.
Nearby, the reconstructed intersection at 15th Street/Bob Billings Parkway is now open, but construction on South Iowa Street continues north to Harvard Road. The entire South Iowa Street project is expected to be done in time for the original completion date of Nov. 16. In the meantime, Iowa Street will remain narrowed to one lane in each direction, with no left turns to and from side streets.
"We're still ahead of schedule to finish that project," Cronin said. "But it will certainly cause delays. We just hope people use alternate routes and slow down as they're trying to get to their destination."
In addition, a Kansas Department of Transportation mill-and-overlay project on Iowa Street from 29th to the south city limits is on schedule and should be finished by the end of the month.
Over on Wakarusa Drive, north and south of Bob Billings, the rainfall earlier this month delayed the project, as have issues with underground utilities that need to be relocated. That project is now expected to be completed by mid- to late-September, a couple weeks later than originally planned.
The delays won't result in any penalties assessed to the contractors, however, because the causes weren't their fault.
"If there are changes that are beyond (the contractors') control, if we get weather delays and they can't work, we generally give them that time and add it on to the end," Cronin explained.
In the new Warehouse Arts District in East Lawrence, a newly bricked Pennsylvania Street is expected to be open by the end of the month, with detours to continue until then. Nearby Ninth Street has already been reconstructed. The whole project was originally scheduled to be done by July 20 but the bricklaying — done by hand, one at a time — took longer than anticipated.
At Ninth and Tennessee streets, most of the work is being done off the roadway, though new traffic signals are being installed this week. Delays are expected until the signals are operational, likely on Wednesday or Thursday, while the entire project is supposed to be wrapped up by the end of the month.