Drivers heading down Kansas Avenue in Topeka, could start seeing some delays. Construction has officially started on the downtown project.
Work started on Kansas Avenue Tuesday morning. Crews were blocking off a section of the road, and traffic is down to one lane in each direction.
“We’re catching our breath a little bit this year,” said Stan Meyers, Project Manager for the Kansas Avenue project.
Currently, the City of Topeka is working on two major projects. One is the downtown Kansas Avenue street project from 6th street to 10th street.
The other is Gage Boulevard, from 33rd Terrace to 29th street.
“Infrastructure in general throughout the country has been neglected for so long, that we’re really playing catch up as an industry, trying to get all that repaired and up to standard. So there are a lot of projects to be done,” said Meyers.
Those projects are two of six construction sites around Topeka right now. Meyers says they had a lot of work last year, and this year they are focusing on fewer projects. The city is cutting back on projects to focus on larger jobs, like the Kansas Avenue project.
“We’ll probably balance that out a little bit with more construction next year, but really there’s kind of a plan to do so many streets a year,” said Meyers.
Maricel Wilson owns Maricel’s Closet off of Kansas Avenue. It is on the west side of the street, which is now closed off. She says she is excited for what the construction will do for the future of downtown.
“There’s a lot of people that are worrying about how they can have access to come to my store, but then at the same time, I feel like I don’t have to worry about it. sacrifice now and be happy later when it’s done,” said Wilson.
All of the current construction projects are funded through the city’s half cent sales tax.
“Obviously construction is inconvenient, we find that everywhere we do this throughout town. But people are ready for the new downtown Topeka,” said Meyers.
The work on Kansas Avenue is set to be completed in fall of 2015. The Gage project is expected to be finished in November.
To see all of the construction projects, click here.