Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell has been awarded a $3.69 million contract from the Kansas Turnpike Authority for consulting services on the early stages of one of the larger renovation projects in the 60-year history of the turnpike.
The company was hired to provide engineering, procurement and construction consulting on a project that in the initial phase calls for raising the heighth of 10 bridges crossing over the turnpike on Interstate 35. The bridges, which are in good shape, are located between the Oklahoma border and south Wichita, the turnpike said.
The bridges, which mostly are on county roads over the turnpike, will only be raised, not rebuilt.
“The bridges vary in age, but most are original bridges” dating to the opening of the turnpike in 1956, said Rachel Bell, the department’s marketing and communications director.
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The bridge project represents the first part of the turnpike authority’s broader plan to raise 10 bridges a year over the next 10 years over various stretches of the highway. The turnpike authority estimates spending about $2 million a year, or $20 million altogether, to complete the project, Bell said.
The turnpike authority released a report early this year that outlined the plans needed to preserve, modernize and enhance the236-mile toll-supported roadway. The study identified 44 projects costing about $1.2 billion, including the bridge work.
Increasing the height of specific bridges spanning the highway would aid freight movement and decrease commercial traffic on local roads and highways.
“Trucks are carrying loads that are taller than what we can accommodate,” Bell said.
While construction details are not available, Bell said the turnpike authority anticipates starting work in September or October.
The traffic impact should be “minimal” on the turnpike and the county roads, Bell said. More information about the impact on traffic will be posted later once the construction schedule is set at www.kandrive.org.
Steve Rosen: 816-234-4879