The Kansas Department of Transportation is nearing the start of a project that will affect many Lawrence-area residents who commute to Johnson County each day along Kansas Highway 10.
The design and construction phase of the so-called Johnson County Gateway project is slated to begin in early 2014, with completion expected in mid-2017. It calls for major improvements at the interchange of K-10 and Interstates 35 and 435.
KDOT announced Wednesday that it has narrowed the list of potential bidders to a short list of three teams, each consisting of four to five construction and design companies.
The agency also unveiled an enhanced website, www.jocogateway.com, with the latest information on the project and features that are compatible with mobile devices.
The interchange is one of the busiest and most congested roadways in Kansas, according to KDOT, with an average of 230,000 vehicles passing through it each day. That number is expected to grow to about 380,000 vehicles per day within the next 30 years.
The project, estimated at $250 million, is part of T-WORKS, the multiyear transportation program approved by the Kansas Legislature in 2010.
KDOT officials describe the project as the first major "design-build" highway project in Kansas. That refers to a process of designers and contractors working together throughout the project so that construction can begin at the same time designers are finalizing their plans for later phases of the project.
The interchange is an important economic link in the Kansas City metropolitan region, KDOT said, because it's a connecting point linking Lawrence, Kansas City, Kan., downtown Kansas City, Mo., south Kansas City, and the intermodel transportation hub being developed near Gardner.
KDOT said the next step will be to send a draft request for proposals to each of the three finalist teams later this month. The winning team will be announced on Jan. 14, 2014, with final design and construction beginning shortly after that.