Work on KDOT’s $14 million Sixth Street and K-10 interchange project is slated to begin this month

photo by: City of Lawrence

A preliminary diagram shows plans for improvements to the Sixth Street and K-10 interchange project.

A $14 million Kansas Department of Transportation project to construct Lawrence’s first diverging diamond interchange is slated to begin later this month.

As the Journal-World reported, Gov. Laura Kelly in 2021 announced funding for nearly $300 million in state highway projects, including a project to reconstruct the interchange of Kansas Highway 10 at West Sixth Street. Two years later, KDOT has awarded the approximately $14 million project contract to King’s Construction of Oskaloosa.

Kate Craft, KDOT’s Public Affairs Manager for Northeast Kansas, told the Journal-World last week that King’s Construction plans to begin work on July 24, conditions permitting. Craft said the company’s work should involve three phases of construction and could be complete by as early as the end of 2024.

That $14 million price tag is more expensive than the estimate from back in 2021, when city leaders approved a $1.5 million funding commitment intended to help the project move toward construction faster. At that time, the project cost was estimated at around $12 million. But Craft told the Journal-World Monday that the city’s contribution is a flat lump sum, rather than a percentage of the overall cost, meaning the city won’t be on the hook to shoulder the additional $2 million.

“So even though the final contract amount was higher than earlier estimates, the agreement between the City of Lawrence and KDOT notes that KDOT is responsible for all costs of construction after the city’s $1.5 million contribution has been applied,” Craft said.

The project is being completed through KDOT’s Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program. This particular type of interchange crosses two directions of traffic from the non-freeway road to the opposite side on both sides of the bridge at the freeway, requiring traffic on the freeway overpass or underpass to briefly drive on the opposite side of the road from what is customary.

Craft said that the first two phases of the project will mostly involve work west of the interchange. KDOT expects that a closure of Sixth Street west of the interchange should take effect later this summer, lasting about 100 calendar days.

The third phase, meanwhile, will require a complete closure of the interchange as Sixth Street and the K-10 ramp tie-ins are reconfigured to create the diverging diamond layout. That’s expected to occur in summer 2024, Craft said.

Other than the closures in the first and third project phases, Craft said the area is expected to remain open for traffic. She said information about closures, detours and other project updates will be provided later on when KDOT has more specific details.

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