Finally: Garden City's Bypass to open Monday

5/11/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

Garden City's U.S. Highway 50/83/400 bypass will be reopened to traffic on Monday, although the northbound off-ramp at Kansas Avenue will remain under construction for several days.

The bypass was closed in January between Fulton Street and Kansas Avenue for a project that widened and rebuilt the roadway for one-third of a mile north and south of the Schulman Avenue intersection, and added turn lanes and a traffic signal at Schulman.

The off-ramp at Kansas Avenue should be reopened to traffic by May 17, according to the city's engineering department. When the bypass opens on Monday, northbound traffic looking to exit at Kansas Avenue or Mary Street will be detoured east on Schulman Avenue, and then north on Jennie Barker Road.

Schulman Avenue and the frontage road east of the bypass will be opened to local traffic on Monday. West of the bypass, Schulman Avenue will remain closed to through traffic, but local traffic routes will be available from Campus Drive and McCoy Street.

Schulman Avenue is expected to open for through traffic in early June.

Steve Cottrell, city engineer, said drivers should be aware of the new traffic signal at the bypass and Schulman Avenue intersection, and also keep in mind the traffic signal at Spruce Street and the bypass has gone back to its normal operation.

"Right now, with the bypass closed at Spruce Street you can go straight across. People have been going through there without worrying about highway traffic the last three months. We put the signal back on red-yellow-green this week, just to get people used to needing to stop," Cottrell said. "People are still running them, but they're catching themselves. Hopefully, by Monday they'll be used to it."

Smoky Hill LLC, Salina, is the contractor for this project. The $2,328,760 project is jointly funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation and the city of Garden City.

The bypass project was related to Menards and the Schulman Crossing commercial development. Cottrell said the city has not been provided with any new information about the store's opening.

Last week, city officials said Menards told the city to expect an increase in truck traffic this week as the store begins stocking the shelves with merchandise. Some unofficial estimates indicate the store could open sometime around the end of the month, but Menards has not made an official announcement.

The Menards store covers about 162,000 square feet on about 28 acres.

Menards will be the anchor store in the first phase of a two-phase $67.2 million retail shopping development to be built on Garden City's east side. The retail development being built by North Carolina-based real estate company Collett & Associates includes 400,000 square-feet of retail space on more than 60 acres of land north of Schulman Avenue and south of Sam's Club, east of the U.S. Highway 50/83 bypass.

The first phase of the project includes development and construction of the Menards store and four smaller lots for as yet unnamed retail stores, along with parking, utilities, and highway, street and infrastructure improvements.

The second phase of the project will include build out of the remaining property in the 60-plus acres with additional retail lots.

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