21st and Maize work finishes ahead of schedule

09/08/2012 7:13 AM

09/08/2012 7:14 AM

Wichita’s dry summer may have been hard on lawns and gardens, but it’s providing a boost to getting intersection work wrapped up early or on time.

Drivers who have battled construction at 21st and Maize since last spring can now enjoy dual left-turn lanes from all directions. The $2.9 million project was completed Friday with the exception of some sod and irrigation work, city project engineer Greg Baalman said.

“As far as vehicles are concerned, it looks all done,” he added.

Raised medians also were installed to prevent left turns into Walgreens and Dillons off Maize Road north of 21st Street.

Work on the city’s fifth-busiest intersection was completed nearly two months ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline, so the contractor received a $60,000 bonus for finishing early. The contract also called for the company to be fined $3,000 for each day work went past the deadline, Baalman said.

But the biggest edge to getting done early was the weather.

“Dry summers tend to help,” Baalman said.

Another major intersection project in northwest Wichita, 13th and Ridge, is expected to be completed in a week, he said. The scheduled completion date is Oct. 1.

The $1.5 million project widens the intersection, adds dual left-turn lanes for south-bound Ridge and provides a dedicated right-turn lane for west-bound 13th.

The work is being done to prepare the intersection for significant traffic increase after the Big Ditch bridge connecting I-235 and 13th is completed in late 2013 or early 2014.

A project in south Wichita is on target or close to it. Work to complete Seneca as a five-lane corridor from Kellogg to I-235 and reconstruct the 31st and Seneca intersection should be done by the scheduled date of Nov. 1.

“For sure it’ll be done before Thanksgiving,” Baalman said.

The work also includes storm sewers to improve drainage and about a mile of new water mains. The project will cost $4.5 million, $1.5 million less than originally expected, Baalman said.

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