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31st Street: Play it straight or throw a curve?
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That's why they build dragstrips the way they do. But when it comes to building city streets, a dragstrip often is not what city engineers are looking for. So, sometimes you get curves. Engineers think if you add a few curves to a road, drivers will slow down some. But in a world where gas is more than $3 a gallon, drivers might appreciate a little efficiency in their road design. Those two concepts are butting heads as engineers do preliminary design work for a proposed extension of 31st Street from Haskell Avenue to County Route 1057. At an open house Monday evening, engineers showed visitors two possible alignments for the road. One alignment was a fairly straight shot, while the other looked more like an elongated S pattern. The engineers and the steering committee that is providing recommendations to city and county commissioners haven't decided which one they like better. They were using Monday's open house to gauge opinion about the two alternatives. Both routes would be two lane roads, but would be built on enough right-of-way that the road could be expanded to four lanes. The more curved route would cost more to build because it would require more right-of-way since the road will be slightly longer (see shortest distance between two points.) But engineers don't yet know what the cost difference will be. Developing cost estimates is the next phase of the study. Both routes also would disturb or perhaps require relocation of three homes. Both routes would connect with County Route 1057 about a quarter mile south of Kansas Highway 10. (County Route 1057 is the road that has the interchange on K-10 between Lawrence and Eudora.)One of the main question that engineers are struggling with is how fast drivers should be allowed to drive on the road. In the city, such roads normally are posted with a 35 mile per hour speed limit. In the county, they more often have a 50 mile per hour speed limit. Engineers, though, have several other questions. They put together a survey, [which you can download here]. Engineers and the steering committee hope to have a report to present back to city and county commissioners by the end of the year. But folks who have been begging for a new east-west road in Lawrence shouldn't get too excited. The city and county don't yet have any funding to build the road, which will cost in excess of $10 million. : http://www2.ljworld.com/documents/2008/sep/30/31st_street_improvement_survey/