The road construction season in Lawrence is nearing its conclusion, with Iowa Street remaining the only project significantly tying up local traffic.
Most of the city's road work is completed for the year, except for Iowa Street, which remains on target for its completion date next month, and Wakarusa Drive, which is behind schedule because of issues with moving utility lines.
"We're getting close here to wrapping up everything for 2013 and getting plans ready for 2014," City Engineer Dave Cronin said.
Road workers continue to reconstruct Iowa Street near the Kansas University campus and currently are working on the northbound lanes of Iowa north of 15th Street. Traffic through the area is expected to be restricted through the project's completion date of Nov. 16.
On Wakarusa Drive, through traffic has been reopened north of Bob Billings Parkway, but crews still are completing some sidewalk work, which could lead to intermittent lane closure. The project was supposed to be done by the end of August, but delays have been caused largely by conflicts with relocating utilities. There is no word yet on whether contractors will be penalized for the delay. Crews also are wrapping up sidewalk work near Bob Billings Parkway and Kasold Drive, which affects traffic for pedestrians and bicyclists, but not motorists.
In addition, crews are busy doing infrastructure work on the Farmland redevelopment project and Rock Chalk Park and are about to install signals at Sixth Street and George Williams Way, none of which impacts road travel.
But it won't be long before the next road construction season gets underway.
At the end of this year, the city will start extending 31st Street from Haskell Avenue to O'Connell Road to allow the expansion of the South Lawrence Expressway (K-10), with that project expected to continue through 2015.
Then, starting in the spring, crews will begin reconstructing the busiest intersection in Lawrence — 23rd and Iowa — with that job expected to last six to eight months. In the end, the work will create dual left-turn lanes in all directions, reconfigure the right-turn lanes to make it easier to yield to pedestrians, and improve the landscape with trees, bushes and irrigation.
Other projects set for 2014 include reconstruction of Wakarusa Drive to the north of where this year's project ended, redoing a section of Bob Billings Parkway west of Wakarusa, brick reconstruction in the 2100 block of Vermont Street, micro-surfacing of Sixth Street from Folks Road to K-10, redesigning box culverts and providing a westbound left-turn lane at Sixth and Iowa, geometrically improving Ninth Street by potentially adding a dedicated left-tune lane between Emery Road and Michigan Streets and replacing signals at Ninth and Kentucky streets.
"We're getting plans ready to bid the projects in the spring," Cronin said.