Why so many road closures?

Why so many road closures?
Posted on 06/15/2022

There seems to be a perfect storm of road construction happening right now in Lenexa, particular in the 87th Street/I-435 area. It’s understandably frustrating for many drivers. Here are a few reasons why you’re seeing so many projects causing closures at once – and a few exciting things to look forward to as you’re winding through a detour route. 

  • Kansas weather leaves us with a narrow window in which to fit in many important projects. Concrete and asphalt work require warm, dry weather that we get most consistently in summer. And, we try to avoid major traffic impacts when school is in session. 

  • Our scheduling ability is also limited when a project uses federal or state funds. For some projects, the work has to line up with the partner agency’s funding availability.

  • Some of these repairs needed to be done soon to keep travelers safe and avoid costly future emergency repairs. In particular, the I-435 bridge over Renner Road in Shawnee (a KDOT project) was structurally deficient – that means one of the critical elements of the bridge was in poor condition. It’s expected to be open by late August. We also identified some pavement issues in areas like City Center that needed to be addressed soon to prevent more extensive repairs that cause even longer closures. 

  • On any given road project, we’re usually working with other agencies, contractors and multiple utility providers who each need to finish their piece of the project at the right time to stay on schedule. If something goes wrong when relocating an electric line, a certain material is coming in months later than expected or rain delays concrete work for weeks, it throws the whole project off schedule. We always try to build in extra time for these unexpected challenges, but supply chain issues and labor shortages are causing even longer delays than expected on many projects. We’ve also had multiple unanticipated challenges with utility relocations on recent projects. 

The good news? Each of these projects is going to bring some much-welcome improvements that will make traveling through Lenexa quicker and more enjoyable. More through lanes and turn lanes on 87th Street Parkway and the I-435 ramps are expected to significantly relieve congestion. A weeklong closure of 87th Street Parkway at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park will bring a tunnel that offers a considerably safer way to cross the road by foot or bike. Pesky pavement work prevents those jarring potholes we all dread.

All these benefits and more are just a few months away.

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Published June 15, 2022