North Sixth Street Project expected to start soon
Commuters and Baldwin School District transportation drivers should start preparing a new route that won't involve Douglas County Road 1055.
Construction isn't expected to start until March, but Baldwin City Public Works employees are about finished with the preparations for the North Sixth Street Project. Baldwin City Director of Public Works Bill Winegar said the project should be bid soon.
“It should be really quick,” Winegar said. “I'm hoping they advertise it this next week.”
USD 348 Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the school district is working toward finding other routes around the area of County Road 1055 that will be closed.
“(Transportation Director) Tracy (Rockers) and principals are working around the fact that traffic won't be going through there before or after school,” Dorathy said at the last school board meeting. “The good thing is the major portion of that construction is going to occur during the summer. We will just have to route around that, just as we will be rerouting around the 56 Highway construction.”
The North Sixth Street Project is a partnership between Baldwin City and Douglas County that will improve County Road 1055 from U.S. Highway 56 to Douglas County Road 12. The one-mile stretch will be widened to three lanes, while curb and guttering will be added on both sides of the road. It will also widen the intersection of Highway 56 and County Road 1055.
Winegar attended the Dec. 19 USD 348 Board of Education meeting to discuss the project and ask the school board for approval of easements along North Sixth and Quayle streets. The school board unanimously approved the easements.
The school board dedicated the north side of Quayle Street to the city, which was not officially part of the city after the school district built the old high school in the 60s. Winegar said the issue is complicated, but now it's part of the city and will be impacted with the project. A turn lane will be added to County Road 1055 at the intersection with Quayle Street.
The other easement approved by the school board was on the east side of County Road 1055. The city will be taking half of the 20-foot water line easement and use it for sidewalks and storm drainage.
“It is our hopes that this project will come in under budget,” Winegar said to the school board. “We think we're going to entertain some great prices on this. If that happens, we're planning on converting the sidewalk on the east side, which is the school district side, to a 10-foot recreational path. That's our desire. Don't know if it will happen, because it depends on the budget.”
Winegar was asked by a school board member if the project will cut into the hill on the west side of the Baldwin High School practice football fields. He said it won't affect those fields.
The city is expected to bid the project soon and begin construction after February. The city has a timeline expected for the project because of a future Kansas Department of Transportation project on Highway 56.
“We are ready to go out to bid pretty quick,” Winegar said. “We're hoping to start construction as soon as the weather breaks, so possibly March 1. We're planning on going through the construction season on this project. Our timeframe is 2012.
“The state of Kansas is going to shutdown 56 Highway in 2013,” he said. “They are going to replace three bridges. They plan on starting those projects in 2013. We have to be done and out of the way before they start, because Sixth Street will be handling a lot more traffic. It won't be a formal detour, but it will be a busy street. We have motivation and a push to get this done.”