Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Actions can make KDOT’s mistake less hazardous

August 7, 2008

We were reminded last year with the collapse of the bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis that our infrastructure needs periodic upgrades. That point was reinforced last week with the release of a report that many of our bridges are in need of repair.

Locally, we are witnessing one the most active, and disruptive, construction seasons in years as the city reconstructs Main Street and its sidewalks in a job made more complicated and intensive by the need to replace outdated and substandard stormwater sewers under the street.

As irritating as the downtown construction is, there can be few complaints about the long needed overhaul to Main Street and associated beautification project that will provide a nice facelift to downtown, especially since a state grant and Douglas County are providing the bulk of funding. There is no good timing for such an project, but any four to five month work schedule in Kansas would have to take advantage of the summer work session.

The timing of the Kansas Department of Transportation project on the Church Street overpass, however, gets no such free pass. KDOT officials failed to conduct a pre-construction meeting with the city and county. Without that, KDOT scheduled the work without the knowledge that Church Street project as an overpass and was far different than the other two other bridges that were part of the same bid package.

What is already an inconvenience will become much worse with the start of school next week.

School district officials wisely advise parents and students carpool, ride bus shuttles and give themselves extra time. We would add many of us, when we can, should explore alternate routes, limited as they may be.

So even as we can direct anger at KDOT for neglecting a basic procedure of a needed repair, we can take actions that will relieve congestion at the intersection and make conditions at overpass less hazardous when traffic increases in coming days.


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