Officials say work on Baldwin City entrances to be finished in time for Maple Leaf Festival
Those responsible for two road projects involving entrances to Baldwin City are confident work on the improvements will be completed in time for the Maple Leaf Festival.
Commuters who have been using Douglas County Road 1055 to drive to Vinland and Lawrence despite the route’s summerlong closure at CR North 500 Road found the road closed Monday morning at Baldwin City north city limits. That eliminated the unofficial detour around the bridge replacement just north of CR North 500 Road via secondary roads.
Douglas County public works director Keith Browning said the newest closure was needed with the start of the latest phase in a season of improvements to CR 1055 from Baldwin City to Vinland. Crews will now mill asphalt from the road in that section, patch where necessary and resurface with new asphalt, he said.
The work also will involve addressing existing erosion problems on the western slope of the steep hill in the section, which creates sharp roadway drop-offs, Browning said. The crew was given 14 work days to complete the work in the section. With optimal weather, the section should be reopened by Sept. 25, he said.
Crews currently also are replacing entrance pipes on CR 1055 from North 650 Road to Vinland. That work will necessitate some temporary closures of one lane of traffic, Browning said.
CR 1055 will also get new asphalt from CR 500 Road to Vinland. The first about half-mile section north of CR 500 Road will have the roadway rebuilt with paved shoulders installed near the approach to the new bridge. The section north of the Douglas County Rural Water District No. 4 pumping station to Vinland is scheduled for the same mill, patch and overlay as is being done now on the southern section.
Browning said the deck is complete for the new bridge. Crews have poured the railing and are now waiting for that concrete to cure before they can start working on the nearby roadway.
The project was delayed because of heavy rains in the spring and early summer, but Browning said he still expected the road to be open in time for the Maple Leaf Festival on Oct. 16, 17 and 18.
Baldwin City public works director Bill Winegar is also confident work on the U.S. Highway 56/High Street realignment will be completed for the festival. “It’s a 45-day contract,” Winegar said. “That was the stipulation. It’s a pretty straight-forward project.”
The realignment also was delayed because of rains earlier in the year, which kept contractor Killough Construction of Ottawa at earlier job sites. The joint city, Douglas County and Kansas Department of Transportation project was originally scheduled for the summer of 2014 but moved back a year when it became apparent it wouldn’t be bid until late in the season.
Work has progressed enough that the outline of the project can now be gleaned at the site. The project will eliminate the current sharp angle at which High Street meets the highway. The plan calls for High Street to curve north to meet U.S. 56 at a 90-degree angle to the west of the current intersection. Left turn lanes will be added on the highway east and west of the new intersection and on High Street south of U.S. 56.
The work also will extend the new roadway north of the highway about 300 feet, at which point it will curve to provide access to the business park. The current roadway north of the highway will be abandoned.
One final project, the installation of a 8-foot mixed-use trail from 11th Street to the Baldwin City Elementary School Intermediate Center, could be completed by the end of next week if weather cooperates, Winegar said.
“There’s still a little concrete to be poured,” he said. “They still have to backfill and seed.”