One of the main entry points to the University of Kansas campus will be closed to traffic for about two months to undergo a multimillion dollar improvement this summer.
The reconstruction of the intersection of 19th Street and Naismith Drive will include a new traffic signal, sidewalks, bicycle lanes and city utility infrastructure, according to City Engineer David Cronin. The reconstruction is estimated to cost $4.5 million.
Earlier this month, the City Commission authorized the use of more than $900,000 of the city’s federal transportation dollars to help pay for the reconstruction. A contract for the project will be awarded soon.
Cronin said the plan is to reconstruct the intersection with concrete pavement and widen it to include bicycle lanes on 19th Street. The sidewalk gap on the north side of 19th Street from Naismith Drive to Alabama Street will also be filled. On the utilities side of the project, Cronin said work includes a new waterline, storm sewer and sanitary sewer.
The 19th and Naismith intersection borders KU’s $350 million Central District redevelopment area, and is one of several street improvement projects recently completed or planned for roadways in that area.
• Last year, after Ousdahl Road was extended north into the central district, an approximately $685,000 project reconstructed the 19th Street and Ousdahl Road intersection and added a traffic signal. Once the central district is complete next year, the 19th and Ousdahl intersection will become the main entrance.
• This year, in addition to the 19th and Naismith intersection, the three-way intersection of Naismith Drive and Crescent Road (in front of the former Jayhawk Bookstore) will be reconstructed. The city and KU are partnering on that project, and the city's estimated cost share of pavement reconstruction is $140,000, according to a city staff memo to the commission. In addition, a $20,000 city traffic-calming project will add a raised median and diverter at the intersection.
• Next year, more street improvements are planned for the area. The city’s draft 2018-2022 capital improvement plan calls for an approximately $3.9 million project to reconstruct 19th Street from Iowa Street to Naismith Drive. That section of the street was given a pavement condition index of about 44 on a scale of 0 to 100. The vast majority of the city’s pavement is rated 70 or above. The commission is scheduled to adopt the draft 2018-2022 capital improvement plan at its meeting May 2.
The $4.5 million reconstruction of the 19th and Naismith intersection will be funded in part by about $908,000 from a federal fund exchange agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation. The commission authorized using this year’s funds to help pay for the intersection’s reconstruction at its meeting April 4.
Bids for the 19th and Naismith intersection project are due Tuesday, and a staff recommendation will come before the City Commission for approval at an upcoming meeting.
Cronin said the 19th and Naismith intersection reconstruction is scheduled to begin about May 15 — the day after KU's commencement ceremonies — and be completed in September. The intersection will be closed to traffic from about May 15 to Aug. 4, he said.