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KDOT Improves U.S. 69, I-435 Corridor Under 10-Year Plan

Work being done in Johnson County is part of a comprehensive 10-year transportation program.

Thu August 28, 2014 - Midwest Edition
Richard Miller

In May 2010, the Kansas Legislature passed an $8 billion Transportation Works for Kansas (T-Works), a comprehensive 10-year transportation program, which was designed to create jobs, preserve and upgrade infrastructure and provide multimodal economic opportunities across the state of Kansas. The ten-year program funds seven different areas throughout the state of Kansas, including highway preservation, expansion and modernization, aviation projects, rail projects, special county highway funding and economic development programs.

The U.S. 69 and I-435 Interchange Improvement Project in Johnson County, Kan., includes the construction of southbound collector-distributor road network along U.S. 69 between 103rd Street and 119th Street, widening work on eastbound and westbound I-435, and the construction of collector-distributor road network along I-435 between I-35 and U.S. 69. Interchange improvements were completed at I-435 and Quivira Road, I-435 & U.S. 69, U.S. 69 and College Boulevard, and U.S.-69 and 119th Street. This project is included in the larger Kansas T-Works and also was financed partially through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and from state and local sources. The city of Overland Park contributed 8 percent of the funding. The state of Kansas and Federal sources funded 18 percent and 74 percent of the project, respectively.

Clarkson Construction of Kansas City, Mo., was the low bidder on this project with a low bid of $101 million. Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) issued the notice-to-proceed in July 2011, with final construction finished in the spring of 2014. The project’s other two bidders were Walsh Construction Co. of Chicago, Il. and Miles Excavating Inc. of Basehor, Kan.

According to Northeast Public Affairs Kimberly Qualls, the project was completed in three phases over three years. The 2011 phase consisted of constructing drainage structure under I-435, Nieman Road and U.S. 69; construct the eastbound I-435 ramp to Quivira Road and reconstruct the connector roads of Switzer and Nieman. The second phase included the widening of southbound U.S. 69, rebuilding the collector-distributor road system, widen both eastbound and westbound lanes of I-435 and reconstruct the Quivira Road interchange.

The reconstruction of the Quivira Road interchange includes the demolition of the three existing interchange bridges. On March 3, 2012, Clarkson imploded two of the three bridges. Traffic on I-435 was detoured while the two structures were dropped on a protective cushion of dirt and sand. Clarkson crews with Hitachi and Caterpillar excavators, dozers and crawler loaders reduced the concrete and hauled it to a site adjacent to the project. Clarkson crews worked throughout the night. All construction debris and the bed of dirt were cleared in time for traffic to reopen the next morning.

This concrete waste, along with other concrete debris removed throughout the project, is crushed to be used as stabilized sub base for the project’s new concrete pavement. Clarkson also located its concrete batch plant on site. The plant has a capacity of 300 cu. yd. (229 cu m) per hour and was serviced by 12 concrete trucks. Clarkson used its Gomaco slip-form pavers to install the new pavement.

The third bridge in the interchange was imploded during the weekend of Aug. 4, 2012. Traffic on Quivira Road over I-435 remained open during the construction process except during the bridge implosions. Other brief closures occurred for the construction of a pair of concrete box culverts under I-435 and the setting of bridge girders on the College Boulevard interchange.

KDOT decided closing I-435 for a brief time for the installation of the box culverts was better than subjecting drivers to extended lane constrictions. “Instead of carrying traffic through a high constricted construction zone for up to 45 days we were able to expedite the project by working around the clock for two weekends. This greatly reduced long-term traffic congestion resulting from construction and more importantly improved safety for motorists and workers,” said Burt Morey, KDOT metro south engineer.

The Quivira Road interchange also includes a unique tunnel feature for the eastbound I-435 collector ramp to southbound U.S. 69. As drivers enter the southbound ramp they will travel under the new Quivira Road bridges and then through a tunnel that travels under the eastbound access ramp from Quivira Road. Drivers will continue on a new distributor roadway that curves south and connects with U.S. 69.

In 2011 KDOT focused on the western end of the project including rebuilding the Quivira Road interchange and realigning two residential roads. The rebuilding of the Quivira Road interchange included the removal of the existing bridges that crossed I-435. This was accomplished in two stages so to avoid traffic disruptions on Quivira Road.

The third phase of construction included the completion of the U.S. 69 collector-distributor road and the I-435 collector-distributor road system. It also included the reconstruction of the U.S. 69 and College Boulevard interchange which included one new bridge. The entire project included the construction of seven new bridges.

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