Next phase in roundabout construction begins

Tim Hrenchir
Hays Daily News
Work began this week on the third of four phases of roundabout construction on Vine St. being carried out this year, with four phases having been carried out last year.

Traffic on Hays' busiest street is moving "much more efficiently" due to an ongoing project aimed at improving traffic flow by building roundabouts, says John Braun, who manages the project for the city.

While Facebook has been filled with unhappy comments about roundabouts in general and in particular about the four being built on US-183 highway, also known as Vine Street, Braun said he's heard considerable praise for that project.

The roundabouts have reduced delays considerably, with motorists no longer having to tolerate long waits at traffic lights, he said.

The $13.1 million project is roughly 70% complete and expected to be completed by the end of the year, Braun said.

Construction on the two-year project began June 1, 2020.

Salina-based Smoky Hill LLC is carrying out the project. Construction is being administered by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Workers last year built one "hourglass roundabout," the city's first roundabout ever, at Vine Street's intersections with 32nd and 33rd streets, Braun said.

The recommended speed in that roundabout is 25 miles an hour.

Three more roundabouts are being built this year along Vine Street to the north of the hourglass, Braun said.

Those three will be typical roundabouts, which are less complicated to drive than the hourglass, he said.

Work began this week on the third of four phases being carried out this year, with four phases having been carried out last year.

The remaining work will involve improving Vine between 35th and 43rd streets, Braun said.

The western half of each of the new roundabouts has already been constructed in that area, he said.

During the next construction phase that began this week, traffic on Vine between 35th and 43rd is being shifted to the west side of Vine on the new pavement so work can begin on the east side, Braun said.

Detours, which are currently posted, will guide traffic through the construction zones.

Like previous phases of construction, left turns will not be allowed in areas of construction where traffic is reduced to a single lane, Braun said.

Only right turns will be allowed to and from the I-70 ramps and various intersections.

For more information, go to the project website or call the city's office of project management at 785-628-7350.