1st roundabout to start

Margaret Allen
Employees of Smoky Hill Construction, Salina, lay curb and gutter on a cool, overcast Wednesday morning at the intersection of Vine and 33rd streets.

Traffic on heavily traveled Vine Street/US-183 highway will slow in a couple weeks when the four-lane corridor is narrowed to one-lane each direction.

The switch is part of the $13.2 million roundabout reconstruction of Vine Street.

The temporary narrowing to one through-lane each direction marks construction of the first of four roundabouts. This one is at the intersection of 32nd and 33rd streets, where construction has been underway for a couple months to re-do the west frontage road and two side streets there in preparation.

The work starts Monday out in the intersection of 32nd and 33rd streets, on the west half of the roundabout. Smoky Hill Construction LLC, Salina, the contractor on the project, will install temporary traffic control signals, basically poles and span wires, said Hays city project manager John Braun.

Those signals will ultimately control the flow of head-to-head traffic on one northbound and one southbound lane on Vine/US-183.

After the signals are up, Vine will be down to one through-lane each direction for about 12 weeks, until late November, said Braun, explaining the changes at a news briefing Tuesday in City Hall, 1507 Main.

“It will slow things down a bit,” Braun said. “But it will still allow the full movements to make the left turns west on 32nd Street or east on 33rd Street.”

The traffic signals will be timed, instead of triggered by the weight of waiting vehicles, he said.

“You’ll actually have a green ball and a green arrow at the same time, so you can go through, or left, and then it will go to yellow, and then to red,” Braun said. “And because we have through-movements and left-movements from the same lane, we’ll have to let all of the southbound traffic go, and then stop that, and then northbound traffic will go. So they can make the left turns onto 32nd Street, southbound traffic makes the left turns onto 33rd Street, and then we’ll let the side streets go.”

Next week, while the temporary traffic signaling is going up, there will be two through-lanes in each direction, he said.

“We’re kind of easing into it,” he said.

Once the temporary signals are in place and fully functional by the end of next week, Smoky Hill Construction will begin shifting southbound traffic on Vine to the east side, where traffic will be head-to-head one-lane in the northbound lanes through the 32nd and 33rd street intersection area.

Traffic switches to one-lane each direction on Monday, Aug. 30.

In order to allow left turns, only one direction of travel will be allowed to move at any given time.

“That will take probably about six weeks to build the west half of the roundabout,” Braun said. “Then they’ll switch it over, and it will be one lane in each direction on the other side, on the new portion, while they’re building the east half. And that will be another six weeks. And by that time it will be November, and it will be finished for the year.”

Friday change

On Friday, access in front of Arby’s at 35th street will be opened up between the west frontage road and Vine Street.

Construction will continue in front of EconoLodge, where traffic there will be restricted to one lane, one-way southbound.

“Right now the frontage road is one-way northbound,” Braun said. “It will be opened up and a short section there will be southbound.”

The south end of the frontage road will be permanently terminated into the Whiskey Creek parking lot, he said.

“Any of the frontage road that is south of that area will be eliminated, and basically covered up with the roundabout,” said Braun. “The roundabout will expand into that area that was formerly the frontage road there, basically by Pheasant Run.”

The frontage road will still provide access to Pheasant Run and Whiskey Creek from 32nd Street. But businesses north of Whiskey Creek will only have access from the north, he said.

Winter construction

Construction will start in 2021 at the north end of Vine Street/US-183, with work on 37th Street, the ramps to Interstate-70 and 41st Street and Mopar Dr.

Meanwhile this winter they’ll work off to the west in the Skyline Drive area, from 37th street over to Skyline, and tying Skyline into 41st Street, Braun said.

“That’ll be all work that’s off the main-line Vine Street,” he said, “they can do that in the wintertime because it has less of an impact on traffic.”

Employees of Smoky Hill Construction, Salina, lay curb and gutter on a cool, overcast Wednesday morning at the intersection of Vine and 33rd streets.