An upcoming road project in Johnson County only involves 2.5 miles, but it’s promising to have a major impact on drivers both during and after construction.
Crews this week removed lane markings in preparation for the two-year pavement reconstruction project on Interstate 435 in Overland Park.
A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation called the project massive.
“We are actually going to be ripping out the concrete pavement and putting in brand new concrete pavement,” Kimberly Qualls said.
“What drivers should expect, above and beyond all, are delays,” said Qualls, who added that nearly 140,000 vehicles travel through this portion of I-435 on a daily basis.
“We expect there to be 10 to 15 minute delays above normal traffic delays.”
The $16.34 million project involves both eastbound and westbound I-435 between U.S. 69 and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.
Although three lanes of traffic will remain open in each direction of I-435, there will be a 55 mph speed limit through the work zone throughout the duration of the project.
Over the next two years, crews will replace the deteriorating concrete pavement on the mainline lanes of the interstate. They will also patch and resurface bridge decks and reconstruct the approaches for the bridges over Indian Creek and Metcalf.
A new asphalt overlay will be installed on the northbound U.S. 69 to westbound I-435 loop, as well as on a portion of the westbound I-435 collector-distributor road.
“The concrete is 30 years old, and it’s rapidly deteriorating,” Qualls said. “We’ve got to get it out and get new pavement in because all we keep doing is repairs on it. You simply can’t put pothole repairs out here — it’s not lasting and as it goes on, it’s going to deteriorate more and more. ”
Actual construction on the pavement begins in the coming weeks, weather permitting. On Sunday, preparation work gets underway as crews place temporary pavement markings on westbound I-435, shifting traffic so that crews can construct temporary crossovers.
This season’s work will focus on reconstructing the eastbound lanes. Traffic will be shifted onto a split-lane configuration, similar to what was used during the Johnson County Gateway Project during the 2015 and 2016 construction seasons.
Under that configuration, the two left lanes of traffic will be shifted to the opposite side of the current median barrier. A temporary barrier will separate eastbound and westbound traffic. These lanes, which are only for through traffic, will not have access to exits at Antioch Road or Metcalf.
Local traffic looking to exit the highway will need to remain in the right lane.
Work on the eastbound lanes is expected to be completed in November, at which time traffic will be shifted back to its normal configuration. Work on the westbound lanes will take place next year.
The KDOT website has posted a fact sheet on the project, including a construction schedule, on its website.
The department looked at doing the project at the same time as the Gateway Project, but determined it would have been more of a traffic nightmare if it worked on the projects simultaneously.
Because of the anticipated delays, drivers are being urged to be patient, take it slow, allow plenty of time, be friendly and remain off cellphones.
Local drivers are being urged to use local streets instead of I-435 whenever possible or change their commute to avoid peak times.
Drivers were also urged to pay attention in the work zones. There was a crash involving two vehicles Tuesday while crews were doing prep work for the project. Although the vehicles were damaged, no one was injured in the crash.
“We want to get this project done,” Qualls said. “We want to keep everyone safe, and we want to provide a smooth roadway in both directions on I-435 for years to come.”
The entire project is expect to be completed in November 2018.