Work resumes on multi-phase highway improvement project

By Burk Krohe

The Kansas Department of Transportation resumed construction on K-18 Monday. The project, which turns a seven-mile stretch of K-18 into a four-lane highway, affects eastbound and westbound traffic on K-18 as well as access streets.

The work will complete the upgrade of K-18 from Wildcat Creek Road to the Miller Parkway/Davis Drive interchange. Elevated interchanges at Scenic Drive and Miller Parkway/Davis Drive will be included in the improvements.

Construction on the first phase of the project started last summer and ran until November. Improvements included construction of the 56th Avenue interchange, K-18 from the airport west to Ogden, Eureka Valley tributary drainage improvements, the north portion of Miller Parkway and reconfiguring the existing K-18 and Scenic Drive intersection.

Construction stopped in November for a winter shut down period but will now run until the fall.

This second phase of the project is anticipated to finish constructing the remainder of westbound K-18 including westbound ramps at Miller Parkway/Davis Drive interchange, Skyway Drive and Eureka Drive, the Scenic Drive interchange and completing construction of Warner Park Road, Geneva Drive and Davis Circle.

Construction will stop for a winter shutdown period again and then the third phase will resume and continue until fall 2013. The third phase is anticipated to complete construction of eastbound K-18, the Miller Parkway/Davis Drive interchange and Stagg Hill Road improvements.

The current work will affect traffic flowing between Manhattan Regional Airport on the east and Ogden on the west. However, now traffic is open to the new portion of the K-18/K-114 interchange near Ogden.

Currently, KDOT has started excavation on the east side of Davis Drive and will haul fill material to the west side for the future interchange. West of the airport entrance, westbound and eastbound traffic will be on the new K-18 alignment.

Eastbound traffic will be reduced to one lane (right lane) before Ogden. Motorists will proceed straight and enter on to the new K-18 roadway. To access the south side of Walnut Street, 68th Avenue, Wildcat Creek or Ogden, traffic will follow signs to K-114/Riley Avenue and use the new intersection ramp to enter onto K-114/Riley Avenue.

Once on K-114/Riley Avenue, traffic should turn right to access the River Trail Townhomes or turn left and follow the roadway to access Wildcat Creek Road, 68th Street, or Ogden. To get to Manhattan, motorists should proceed straight at the ramp.

As for westbound motorists, to access 12th Street or I-70, traffic will need to be in the left lane of K-18. West of the airport, traffic will crossover onto the old K-18 eastbound lanes where it will be head-to-head with eastbound traffic. To get to I-70 or 12th Street, motorists will need to utilize the left hand exit and will enter onto the new K-18 roadway. To access Wildcat Creek Road, 68th Avenue, the south side of Walnut Street or Ogden, traffic continues straight.

Motorists will also access the south side of Walnut Street via the new Skyway Drive shoofly, which is located across from 68th Avenue. Motorists should follow the roadway to the new Cimarron Trail Road, which will allow access to the River Trail Townhoumes and Kansas River boat ramp. Traffic goring from Walnut Drive onto K-18 will also utilize the Skway Drive shoofly.

The Davis Drive connection to K-18 is now closed, and it is projected to be closed until 2013. The city is advising residents south of K-18 to use Allison Avenue and Stagg Hill Road to K-113/Seth Child Road interchange or Rosencutter Road to K-18 for eastbound and westbound access.

Starting March 19, the Miller Parkway connection to K-18 will close. Initially, city officials thought it would be closed until the fall of 2013, but KDOT officials informed the city they expect the northern portion of it to open this fall. Once it closes, residents north of K-18 will need to use Amherst Road to K-113/Seth Child Road then south to K-18 for eastbound and westbound access.

Also, responding to safety concerns from citizens in the area and city commissioners, city officials are looking into completing an emergency vehicle only gravel roadway surface from the existing northwestern terminus of Miller Parkway to Scenic Drive. Access by emergency vehicles would be granted via a gate at Scenic Drive, which would be opened with a key or some sort of remote mechanism.

Also on March 19, K-18 traffic will be head to head (a lane of eastbound traffic and a lane of westbound traffic) starting just west of K-113 west to Ogden.

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