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Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Editorial: Pain, gain

The pain of local road construction is allowing the city to report gains in local street conditions.

January 15, 2013

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Patience. Planning. Those may be good recommendations for drivers in Lawrence in the months ahead.

On tonight’s Lawrence City Commission agenda is a presentation concerning the “pavement management program” planned for this year; in other words, street work. It’s an ambitious plan that’s certain to disrupt familiar traffic patterns for many residents and probably cause frustration for those visiting the city and not expecting detours and delays. In fact, the reconstruction plan for the intersection at Bob Billings Parkway and Iowa streets just recently was the subject of public concerns at City Hall.

The purpose of all the effort and expense is, obviously, to upgrade the city’s streets from their current disreputable condition. And the efforts to date seem to be paying off.

Here are some of the major items on tap for this year, assuming no changes at today’s commission meeting:

• Rebuild Iowa Street from Harvard Road to the Irving Hill overpass.

• Rebuild Bob Billings Parkway from Iowa to Crestline and from Kasold Drive to Crestline.

• Rebuild Wakarusa Drive north and south of its intersection at Bob Billings.

• Redo intersections at Sixth and Iowa (turn lane), 23rd and O’Connell (signal), Ninth and Tennessee (turn lane), and Sixth and George Williams Way.

All that’s in addition to assorted overlays (including one on Iowa from 29th to the south city limits), brick and concrete restoration, crack sealing, striping work on streets and crosswalks, extensions (including 31st Street from Haskell to O’Connell), pothole patching, and other more routine projects. It would be interesting to know how much of this rebuilding, repair and patchwork is due to poor construction materials and the city not requiring and checking the quality of materials used in Lawernce street projects.

The price tag for all this work is $4.38 million (that includes a bonus of up to $96,000 for early completion of that intersection project at Iowa and 15th/Bob Billings.)

The payoff for city residents from their investment is that since 2005, when it was determined that 31.5 percent of the city’s streets were in a condition that dictated replacement, that figure now is 19.5 percent. And the improvement is noticeable.

So, for drivers in the months ahead, the best advice may be to grin and bear it, knowing that when the work is completed, it’ll have been worth the temporary inconveniences.

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