Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2006

Main St. trial run nears

Utility work to cause lane closures starting next week

March 23, 2006

Lansing residents and commuters will get a sneak preview beginning next week of how their travel on Main Street will be affected in the coming months.

The relocation of utilities ahead of the $13.3 million Main Street System Enhancement project will require the closing of the outside northbound lane on Main from Kansas Avenue to Helen Street, said John Young, the city's Public Works director. At the same time, the outside southbound lane of Main Street from Kay Street to just south of Mary Street also will be closed while crews relocate utilities.

"It's starting," Police Chief Steve Wayman said, "and I hope people are ready for it."

Both projects, Young said, could last approximately two weeks, and they won't be the end of utility relocations associated with the system enhancement project.

"I think you can anticipate seeing a lot of utility relocations, and you'll see lanes dropped in conjunction with them," he said.

The closing of the northbound lane will bring with it a temporary ban on left-hand turns off of Main onto Ida Street.

"That'll be especially problematic," Young said. "You wouldn't be able to make a left-hand turn there without really backing up traffic."

"It's going to be a challenge, that's for sure," Wayman said.

During the duration of the northbound lane closings, Young said, the protected left-turn signal at Main and Ida will be disabled. Those drivers that normally access Ida from northbound Main Street are being redirected to Ida via West Mary Street to DeSoto Road and north to Ida.

Young and city officials urged patience from drivers with all of the Main Street work.

"This is all doable," Young said, "but folks are just going to have to allow a little extra time. If they allow for the extra time, the slowdown won't be as frustrating."

The lane closings that will begin next week are required for the relocation of lines belonging to Kansas Gas Service, Young said, though it's possible other utilities, such as Westar, also could relocate their lines in the area at the same time.

Actual roadwork on the Main Street System Enhancement project will begin sometime after the Kansas Department of Transportation awards the contract bids. The bid opening is scheduled for April 19 in Topeka.

The roadwork is forecast to last two full construction seasons. Improvements include widening Main Street from Connie to Ida streets to include a center turn lane, rebuilding the bridge over 7-Mile Creek, reconstructing medians from Gilman Road to Ida Street and constructing a "reverse frontage road" north of West Mary Street to West Kansas Avenue.


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