The best way to travel Iowa Street this summer will be via helicopter.
City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are set to approve the city’s 2013 street maintenance program. No surprise here: Iowa Street will be the star of the show this year.
As we have reported multiple times, Iowa Street from Yale Road to the Irving Hill overpass will be reduced to one lane in each direction while crews rebuild that stretch of road. The city also will close Bob Billings/15th Street where it intersects with Iowa from May 20 through mid-August to add turning lanes and other intersection improvements.
So yes, the northern stretches of Iowa Street may be a little stressful for awhile; the entire project is expected to last from Feb. 1 to mid-November. But at least, you’re thinking, you’ll be able to relieve some of that pent-up stress by buying boxes of Moon Pies and other assorted goodies at Walmart and all the other retailers on South Iowa Street. (What? You try telling a certain someone in my household that the best stress therapy doesn't come in a Moon Pie box.)
Well, you’ll still be able to buy, buy, buy on South Iowa Street, but you may have to endure some wait, wait, wait to get there.
The city is set to spend $600,000 — about $200,000 of it is coming from state funds — to do deep patching and a complete repaving of Iowa Street from 29th Street to the southern city limits. Work is expected to begin May 21 and last through Aug. 16, although you never know about those dates. The city basically says it will start projects after KU classes are dismissed for the summer and be completed by the time KU classes begin for the fall.
The road will remain open during the project, but expect some lane disruptions. The two Iowa Street projects may be the most visible this summer, but there will be others. Here’s a look at what else is on the city’s 2013 street maintenance plan:
• A major reconstruction of the Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive intersection. The latest plans I’ve seen call for Wakarusa Drive to be closed a couple hundred feet both north and south of Bob Billings Parkway. In other words, motorists who want to go the full length of Wakarusa Drive will need to take a detour through the business park area that is just west of Wakarusa.
• The city will keep motorists on Bob Billings Parkway on their toes. In addition to the intersection work, the city will do a complete repaving of the section of Bob Billings Parkway just west of Wakarusa. Based on the map I’ve seen, it looks like the repaving will stop just east of Legends Drive.
• Several residential streets south of Harvard Road, north of Bob Billings Parkway, west of Kasold and east of Wakarusa Drive will get a microsurface treatment. The process involves putting a thin layer of pavement over the street to seal cracks and such.
• East Lawrence also will get in on the act with several streets east of Connecticut, west of Haskell and north of 15th Street getting repaved. There’s also some curb work slated for the area, and one brick street restoration. (I’m checking on which street.)
• The area between Louisiana and Massachusetts Streets, south of 19th but north of 23rd Street, also will have multiple streets that get repaved and some concrete curb repair work.
I could throw more directions at you, or I could just let you click here to see a complete map of the city’s proposed 2013 street program.