Shawnee & Lenexa

Shawnee is playing catch-up with street improvements

Orange and white pylons are lining one of Shawnee’s major thoroughfares, jamming traffic and annoying drivers, as workers repair curbs and roadways.

But hang on, drivers — the work on Shawnee Mission Parkway from Quivira Road to the city’s eastern boundary is just one of several road projects that will be completed around the city this summer.

The city is spending $7.3 million this summer repairing roads this year, which is 31/2 times as much as the city spent last year.

Work on the roads had been delayed because of funding issues following the recession, said Doug Wesselschmidt, Shawnee city engineer.

“What this year’s street maintenance program does for us, it does some catching up, but there is still a lot of work in the upcoming years to keep our streets where we want them to be,” he said.

To repair all 780 lane miles of streets once every 12 years, the city needs to spend about $6.9 million each year. Even though the city is spending more than the $6.9 million this year, budget projections show in most years through 2017 the amount will be less than half of that.

This year, workers will repair about 100 lane miles of roads and 4 miles of curbs, leaving a backlog of about 180 miles of streets.

Besides the Shawnee Mission Parkway project, construction has begun on another major project, the Monticello North Corridor Project. The city is making improvements on Monticello between Johnson Drive and 66th Street to better handle traffic from the high school, middle school, elementary school and a Catholic school.

The improvements include a roundabout at Clear Creek and Monticello, new turn lanes for the high school and elementary school and road resurfacing and new curbs.

Emergency repairs have been taking place on 65th Street between Quivira Road and Flint Street. A 102-inch storm sewer collapsed, causing a portion of the road to become a sinkhole. The road, which is closed, is important to reduce response times for fire and emergency vehicles.