Motorists have received an early Christmas present in the form of completed construction on Iowa Street.
The project, which severely restricted traffic between Harvard Road and 15th Street/Bob Billings Parkway throughout the summer, is finished — about two weeks ahead of time and within the projected budget.
Many local motorists probably haven’t seen much of Iowa Street since construction began last February, having taken to different routes to avoid the construction zones. For them, the results of the project should be a pleasant surprise. New pavement, new turning lanes, new sidewalks all should improve the safety of convenience of this important route.
The project was inconvenient for motorists, but the city deserves congratulations for minimizing the disruption from construction. The Lawrence City Commission’s decision last December to allow portions of Bob Billints Parkway and 15th Street to be closed during construction turned out to be a good one. The closings allowed work to move more quickly and get that important entrance to Kansas University open by the beginning of the fall term.
One big Iowa Street project is finished, but construction somewhere on Iowa Street seems like a never-ending proposition. In the coming year, crews are scheduled to reconstruct the even busier intersection of 23rd and Iowa — a project expected to take six to eight months. And then there’s a major project to add a westbound left-turn lane at Sixth and Iowa streets.
So enjoy it while you can. All of these projects are greatly needed as the city seeks to catch up its street maintenance. The results are great, but this is a case that, for local motorists, getting there certainly isn’t half the fun.