With spring, Vine Street roundabout work restarts

Margaret Allen
Hays Daily News
Smoky Hill concrete foreman Roberto Delgadillo on Thursday morning throws a shovel of sand where his crew is building out a hike and bike trail on a portion of 41st Street closed Monday. "Putting the pieces back together," said Delgadillo, he and his crew prepare to pour concrete. From left to right, Jonathan Day, Delgadillo, Valentin Delgadillo, David Contreras, Victor Delgadillo, and Jose Esparza.

After pausing for winter, construction to finish up the $13.2 million reconstruction of north Vine Street will start in earnest on March 15.

The three remaining roundabouts will take until November to complete, according to city of Hays project manager John Braun.

The work by Smoky Hill Construction of Salina means traffic on various spots of north Vine Street-U.S. Highway 183 will once again be down to one lane in each direction, Braun indicated at a Tuesday morning press conference in City Hall, 1507 Main. That goes for both north and south of the Interstate 70 overpass, for the next eight months, he said.

“We’re still ironing out some of the details, but if things go as planned, the traffic will be split,” Braun said. “So northbound traffic will be shoved east into the outside lane, and the southbound traffic will be shoved west into the outside lane. They’re going to be doing some work, removing some of the medians there around the Interstate, and putting in some temporary paving to allow the crossovers where the medians currently are.”

During that first phase, Braun said, the eastbound ramps on the south side of I-70 should function with the existing traffic signal, just the way they do now.

North of I-70, on the westbound ramps, that traffic signal will come out and the ramps will become right-turn only.

“So if you’re coming off of the westbound off-ramp, you’ll have to turn right and go up to 43rd Street, or take a detour basically,” he said. “You just have to go around the block basically. Turn right toward Home Depot, go on up to 43rd Street and come on back south again. And similarly if you’re trying to get westbound onto I-70, you won’t be able to make that left turn onto the ramp, you’ll have to go take that detour southbound to get onto the ramp.”

That initial phase will be several weeks, he said, then they’ll push all the traffic onto the east side and start building the roundabouts on the west side.

Three more roundabouts

Vine Street drivers have mastered navigating the city’s first roundabout, an hourglass shape at 32nd and 33rd streets that was completed last fall.

Now work on the three remaining Vine Street roundabouts will be done all at once.

“The contractor has several crews, and they’ll all be working at all locations at the same time,” Braun said.

The three include one at the new 37th Street by the 24/7, Phillips 66, Super 8 Motel and the Golden Ox/Sinclair Gas Station. The second is a teardrop-shaped roundabout south of the I-70 overpass at the I-70 eastbound on- and off- ramps. The third is north of the I-70 overpass at the intersection of Mopar Drive and 41st Street.

Future hike ‘n bike

The new 37th Street opened Monday, providing access to Phillips 66, 24/7, Baymont Inn and the Hays Antique Mall. It now connects Vine Street to Skyline Drive and west 41st Street. As part of the change up, the north-south frontage road is no longer accessible from 37th Street.

Also, 41st Street south of I-70 and west of Vine Street, as it used to connect to the frontage roads and Vine Street, was closed Monday, said Braun.

“Ultimately when the project is finished that will be converted into a hike and bike trail, a pedestrian trail,” Braun said. “So there will be connections to sidewalks as sidewalk is being built … So pedestrians and bicyclists can use it to access from 41st Street down to Vine Street.”