Archive for Thursday, July 9, 2009

Work on major intersection in North Lawrence could begin later this month

July 9, 2009

Work to rebuild a major intersection in North Lawrence could begin as early as July 20, as city officials welcome the hiring of a local contractor to handle the complicated task designed to improve driver safety and roadway drainage.

R.D. Johnson Excavating Co. Inc. will be paid $2.63 million to rebuild the intersection of North Second and Locust streets in North Lawrence, the Kansas Department of Transportation announced Wednesday. The intersection is just north of the Kansas River bridge.

The Lawrence-based contractor’s bid topped those from three other companies vying for the work:

l King’s Construction Co., Oskaloosa, $2,741,911.64.

l Emery Sapp & Sons, Columbia, Mo., $2,761,881.72.

l Mega Industries Corp., North Kansas City, Mo., $2,800,748.90.

In Lawrence, R.D. Johnson already is busy — and ahead of schedule — in overhauling and resurfacing Ninth Street, from Iowa to Tennessee streets. The company also served as the contractor who rebuilt Kasold Drive, from Bob Billings Parkway to Clinton Parkway, as part of yet another job that was finished early.

“R.D. Johnson has done a great job for us,” said Chuck Soules, public works director for the city of Lawrence, which is helping finance the upcoming work. “He is a local contractor, and that’s always good news.”

The latest project will add left-turn lanes along North Second at Locust, a change designed to improve traffic flow and boost safety. The work also will eliminate a “bump” in the intersection that has been in place at least since a giant sinkhole was filled in following drainage challenges in 1993.

More drainage inlets and pipes will be installed at the intersection, and a new waterline will be placed underground.

“It’s a good project,” Soules said.

It also will disrupt traffic.

The first phase of construction, set to begin later this month, will limit traffic heading south through the intersection to one lane, and block both lanes for traffic heading north. That traffic instead will be steered onto Elm Street, then over to North Third Street before being directed back onto North Second using Lyons Street.

That phase of the work will be expected to last into November, while the entire job will last into April, Soules said. The plan is to be finishing as the Kansas Turnpike starts its own reconstruction project that will close the East Lawrence interchange for eight months.

During the city’s work, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & medical plans to dispatch two emergency crews to each call in North Lawrence: one to arrive using North Second Street, and another to arrive using the Kansas Turnpike.

The project is being financed using a combination of federal, state and city revenues: $2 million from the federal economic-stimulus program, plus $500,000 provided through KDOT and another $300,000 from the city. The total budget includes money for inspections and other services.

The city originally had expected to state’s share to be closer to $1 million, but the federal stimulus program helped reduce the financial need. That means the state now has an “extra” $500,000 available for another project in Lawrence, and city officials already have lined it up to help defray expenses on next year’s planned reconstruction of Kasold Drive, from Clinton Parkway to 31st Street.

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