First phase of Sixth Street project to be finished in second week of July
The first phase of the North Sixth Street project should be finished in about four weeks, the Baldwin City Council was told Monday.
Bill Winegar, Baldwin City public works director, updated the council on the progress of the first of three phases of Sixth Street improvements north of U.S. Highway 56. The city and Douglas County are sharing the cost of the $2.18 million project, which will add a turn lane and curb and guttering to Sixth Street from the highway to Douglas County Route 12. The city also is spending $185,000 to install a five-foot sidewalk on the west side of the street from the highway to Douglas County North 400 Road and a 10-foot multi-use sidewalk on the east side along the entire route of the upgrade.
All the businesses affected by the improvements are located on the project’s first phase, which upgrades the street from U.S. 56 to Fire Tree Avenue.
Winegar said asphalt was to be laid Monday but the need to address soft spots in the sub-base delayed that work until Tuesday and Wednesday. However, county public works employees at the scene Tuesday said work on the soft spots would need time to “cure” and that asphalt surfacing was now scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
After the asphalt is laid, work will move to the installation of curbs and guttering, sidewalks and the about six remaining concrete driveways to businesses, Winegar said.
“We’re a couple days behind,” he said. “We’re not too bad overall. It (the first phase) should open up in the second week in July.”
The first phase would open without the final, finishing layer of blacktop, which would be applied later, Winegar said.
In association with the project, the Kansas Department of Transportation made improvements to the intersection of U.S. 56 and Sixth Street. The work on the intersection is finished except for a new traffic signal that will be installed later. Winegar said a timer controls the current traffic light so motorists might have a longer wait than in the past when sensors changed the light when cars were waiting at the intersection.
R.D. Johnson, the lead contractor for all the street improvements, was also responsible for the sewer benefit district improvements that will extend sewer service to 10 customers north of U.S. 56 near Sixth Street. Sewer service in now operational for two of those customers, Baldwin City Self Storage, 201 N. Sixth St., and the Pink Lady Consignment Shop on Sixth Street, 215 N. Sixth St.
The 10 property owners in the benefit district will be assessed only for construction and easement acquisition costs with the city accepting 17 percent of those expenses. The city is also paying for all engineering, design and other up-front costs. City Administrator Chris Lowe said it appears if the total construction cost will be about $107,000.
At Monday’s council meeting, Robin Bayer, who owns the property on which the Pink Lady sits, praised the city’s work on the project and the cooperation of city staff.
In contrast, Delbert Sheldon, owner of Baldwin City Self Storage just south of Bayer’s property, objected to the city’s work on a drainage ditch that runs west from Sixth Street done in conjunction with the sewer project and the Sixth Street improvements. The ditch narrowed too quickly from its 16-foot width near Sixth Street to a four-foot width to the west, he said. He also asked if the city has plans for a retention pond to handle new development east of Sixth Street.
In response, Mayor Ken Wagner and City Administrator Chris Lowe said two engineers approved the plan for the drainage ditch and that changes were made to address concerns Sheldon raised.
The current retention pond was adequate to handle planned growth, Lowe said.