Danedri Thompson
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Plans to renovate the Main Street/Center Street intersection may be put on hold, Tim McEldowney, city engineer said.
The $1.2 million intersection upgrade is a joint project between the state and the city of Gardner. As part of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s (KDOT) Corridor Management program, the state agreed to fund up to $870,000 in construction costs on improvements to the intersection. The city would pay up to $350,000 in project costs.
Upgrades will include realigning the intersection, and expanding it to provide left turn lanes on Main Street and add right turn lanes on Center Street. The work required extensive right-of-way acquisition from Bruce Funeral Home and additional right-of-way purchases and easements from Metcalf and Patriots Bank.
McEldowney said delays in land acquisitions slowed the project.
“It’s just taking longer to get plans completed,” he said.
Officials inked the agreement between the state and the city in 2011 and anticipated a project start in the spring of 2013. They estimated the upgrades would be completed sometime this fall.
KDOT is reviewing final design plans on the project.
“We would love to get it done this year, but realistically it’s not looking that good,” McEldowney.
The possible road work delay is also slowing down progress in improvements to Bruce Funeral Home. There, contractors are in the process of building a new parking lot, detached garage and driveway, and changing the entrance to the home’s attached garage.
Construction on the project also involved the demolition of homes near the Park Street and Center Street intersection.
Shirley VanArsdale, funeral home owner, said parts of her project, like finishing the new drive and connecting storm water drainage pipes to the street’s storm water system, can’t be completed until the intersection project is finished.
“I’m very sad and surprised and disappointed that we now can’t complete our project until the intersection is complete,” she said.
Officials told her they were shooting for an Oct. 1 intersection completion date.
“Then we were told it would be done by Thanksgiving,” she said. “I have no date. So we wait.”
Because the state owns and maintains Main Street, also known as U.S. 56 Highway, the project is a joint effort between the city of Gardner and the state. And the hold-up, McEldowney said is at the state level.
Once they have state approval, the city can begin construction, but as winter approaches, the start date is likely to be pushed back.
“It’s just a matter of delaying until we get past winter,” he said.