Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sixth Street barricades to come down Friday evening

North Sixth Street will be open to traffic at 5 p.m. Friday with substantial completion of construction to rebuild the street from U.S. Highway 56 to Douglas County Route 12. Work will continue on the project, mandating a 25 mph construction speed limit.

North Sixth Street will be open to traffic at 5 p.m. Friday with substantial completion of construction to rebuild the street from U.S. Highway 56 to Douglas County Route 12. Work will continue on the project, mandating a 25 mph construction speed limit.

November 14, 2012

Baldwin City motorists frustrated with driving out-of-route gravel road miles to get to Lawrence will have an early reason to be thankful Friday with the removal of barriers on North Sixth Street.

Terese Gorman, engineering division manager for Douglas County Public Works, said North Sixth Street would be opened to traffic at 5 p.m. Friday with the removal of barriers on the street blocking access to the projects third and final phase. That phase improved the street from just north of the Annunciation Catholic Church driveway to Douglas County Route 12. The opening will mark the substantial completion of the project.

Keith Browning, Douglas County public works director, said work on the actual street was completed Friday and Saturday when contractor R.D. Johnson Construction took advantage of unseasonably mild weather to put the finishing final lift of asphalt on the project’s entire length from U.S. Highway 56 to Douglas County Route 12.

“We jumped through a lot of hoops to get that final slip of asphalt applied,” Browning said. “The contractor went to extraordinary means to accomplish that.”

However, there are a handful of tasks still to be finished on phase 3, including seeding, mulching, fertilizing, the placement of permanent signs, some sidewalk installation and backfill for the sidewalk work. The final section could not be opened to traffic until road signs were in place and that had to wait until the sidewalk installation and backfill was finished, he said.

Gorman said some remaining work would require the posting of a 25 mph construction speed limit until the tasks were completed.

“There will be closed lanes as crews continue to work,” she said. “But, it’s now a three-lane road now, so there will be two-way traffic.”

The county and Baldwin City split the cost of the $2.18 million project, which added a turn lane, curbs and guttering to North Sixth Street, which is also Douglas County Road 1055, from U.S. 56 to Douglas County Route 12. The city is spending another $185,000 to add sidewalks along the route.

Comments

1776attorney 1 year, 10 months ago

I believe previous articles stated that Baldwin City would be paying $700,000 for sidewalks for this project. Regardless, if it is $700,000 or $185,000 the excuse we taxpayers always get from our elected officials about proper sidewalks, gutters, curbing and rainwater drainage improvements within the city proper is that the city doesn't want to "force the property owner's into paying for their own sidewalk and street improvements".

According to the north 6th Street project, these home and business owners just received brand new and improved streets, curbs, guttering, buried utilities and sidewalks at no cost to themselves. We all chipped in to make their neighborhood the best in the city.

At the same time, the area around downtown has muddy street gutters, crumbling sidewalks that fail to meet the Federal ADA requirements, no proper curbing and streets that buckle (or even rock streeting). In addition, the vintage brick streets need to have a program for renovation and historic protection.

Now I am told the city wants to pay for brand new sidewalks along Highway 56 to the new elementary schools, pave and curb the streets north of the new high school and re-design and improve the High Street and Highway 56 junction all at taxpayer expense thereby benefiting a small "click" of special interests and once again neglecting the residents of the center city neighborhoods.

With the election coming up in the Spring, I and others intend to make this an official election year issue, calling out council members for their neglect or special interest pandering. Enough is enough.

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NanCrisp 1 year, 10 months ago

How true! We tore out and replaced our own sidewalk in front of our house several years ago. We were told at the time that the City put the sidewalks in initially and after that it's up to homeowners to provide "maintenance." Well, the sidewalks in our part of town were originally put in about 1920 or 1930, and obviously no homeowners have done any upkeep in the interim years. And walking around town, it's easy to see that current homeowners have no intention and probably no budget to replace sidewalks anytime soon.

Actually, funding programs that come under the umbrella of CDBGs (community development block grants) such as the money used to spruce up a couple of blocks downtown can be administered by municipalities to property owners for the purpose of helping people with this very type of upkeep. But our community doesn't want to hassle with helping residents. We just want to take all the expendable income through increased taxation of various sorts, then tell residents they have to improve their own sidewalks. Maybe if you'd leave us some money in our pockets, we could do that! But under the circumstances, we're spending way too much supporting your new sidewalks and your new schools to be able to take care of the sidewalks and alleys you're neglecting. (Yes, we also seem to have to put gravel in the alleys ourselves!!)

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greyghost 1 year, 10 months ago

Enjoy your crumbling sidewalks and gutters. East of Sixth Street, we have no sidewalks to let crumble.

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Stacy Napier 1 year, 10 months ago

At least you have pavement. Over here we have a gravel road, let alone sidewalk or gutter.

You all have nothing to whine about.

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greyghost 1 year, 10 months ago

You got us there nwyt. But, I bet that gravel road is in better shape than the asphalt they just laid by Callahan Liquor and the trailer park--that is just asinine.

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kermit 1 year, 10 months ago

Nan, 1776. Please run for city council next spring.

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hyperinflate 1 year, 10 months ago

Really, Jeff? You're gonna ask Nancy Crisp (apparently your mortal enemy) to run for City Council?

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kermit 1 year, 10 months ago

I am flattered you think I am Jeff M.

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greyghost 1 year, 10 months ago

You just proved hyper correct. No one would be flattered to be confused with Jeff--except for Jeff.

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Goldie 1 year, 10 months ago

I just drove down the really nice road to nowhere today. I can only imagine what visitors will be thinking upon arrival. "Gee a center turn lane that runs forever and nowhere to turn to". Oh well, Lawrence has their multi million dollar raod over a swamp and Baldwin can claim the multi million dollar road with a center turn lane and sidewalks going nowhere.

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Nathaniel Johnson 1 year, 10 months ago

I think this is a unifying issue. With all of the road work, drainage issues, not to mention crumbling sidewalks, how can the city justify this expense for an area that receives almost no foot traffic? I walk every day (fat race walker looks like I am doing the chicken dance) and I see many other walkers on streets within the actual town who struggle with the same disintegrating sidewalks. Don't get me wrong, the sidewalks in front of my house are in pretty bad shape but I simply can't afford to replace them yet but the city can afford to replace the ones in front of the hardware store? City Council, you need to make a statement on this. What is the rational? It's not even the most pressing highway issue - That would be 8th Street and 56 highway. I would also add that we are damn lucky not to have had a fatality on the back roads while that stretch has been closed. You should never close a major highway completely.

Nathaniel Johnson gruyere.emmentaler@gmail.com

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1776attorney 1 year, 10 months ago

Goldie, thanks for your post. It will be very interesting to investigate and learn who owns the property to the west of 1055 / 6th street north of the current development. And to see if the property owner has any relationship or association with anyone currently in city government or consultive committees.

Rumor has it that this road was constructed to service a future housing development on the west side that has been in the planning stages but was delayed until after the street work was completed and the developer escaped any financial obligations for improving the road themselves.

Remember the 1/2 cent sales tax that was supposed to go for "quality of living" projects? Somehow a "nature walking path" skyrocketed to the top of the list and is planned for where else? You guessed it, out in this same area. Too far away for central Baldwin City dwellers to walk to and use. But a great marketing feature for a developer.

Stay tuned.

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Goldie 1 year, 10 months ago

Just another prime example of the " good ol boy network " doing whatever they want whenever. Doesn't Baldwin deserve better ?

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CommonSense2 1 year, 10 months ago

Here is a bright idea! Post the 25mph construction sign at the top of the hill. Then we can give tickets to all the drivers entering from roads south of there who have no idea about the speed limit! WooHoo it helps pay for construction! Someone is very bright!!!

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Stacy Napier 1 year, 10 months ago

Common, don't worry the construction signs are not properly posted and the zone is not properly marked so they will have a hard time in court getting a conviction.

Goldie, The sidewalks and turn lane do lead somewhere. Right out of Town!

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