Overland Park is replacing one of its oldest residential streets.
Next week, construction workers will begin ripping out asphalt along 91st Street, from U.S. 69 to Antioch, and reconstructing a brand new street in its place. The $4 million project also includes widening sidewalks, updating storm sewers, and constructing a bike and hike trail from Farley to Antioch.
“We’ve maintained the street to its useful life span,” said Kyle Dieckmann, a civil engineer for the city. “Further maintenance simply isn’t going to help anymore. If we didn’t fix it, there would be potholes and eventually it would become impassible.”
Built in 1958, before Overland Park even became a city, 91st Street serves as a collector street. It gains traffic from surrounding neighborhoods, as well as Pawnee Elementary School, Westridge Middle School and Oak Park Mall.
Replacing it is part of the city’s Neighborhood Street Reconstruction Program, which was developed more than a decade ago.
“The program is important because we have a big responsibility to maintain the streets and reconstruct them when needed,” Dieckmann said. “It’s our duty to provide everyone with a good roadway system.”
This year, the sole project of the program is 91st Street, because of the cost and immensity. Next year, however, the city will be reconstructing several smaller residential streets in the northern part of the city.
The city typically sends out notifications to affected residents a year in advance, informing them of the upcoming construction. City staff also holds public meetings to discuss each project and answer questions from residents.
For the 91st Street project, public meetings have been very well-attended. After all, Dieckmann pointed out, the construction will affect 150 properties.
Although the roadway will be closed to through traffic during construction, there will be temporary gravel to accommodate neighbors and school buses. There will be detours to 87th Street and 95th Street.
City staff is working with the Shawnee Mission School District to accommodate both schools in the vicinity. The city will not tear up the sidewalk near Pawnee Elementary until summer break, and there will be temporary busing for Westridge Middle School students who normally walk to school and are affected by the construction.
The street is expected to be reconstructed by August, before the start of the new school year. The entire project, including landscaping, is set to be completed by December.