The Garden City Telegram
5/4/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Road growth

Highway bypass construction promises to be worth the wait.

Almost everyone who has cause to travel in and around Garden City has been inconvenienced in some way by ongoing highway bypass work.

In January, a road improvement plan closed a good portion of the well traveled U.S. Highway 50/83/400 bypass. Traffic has been off limits on the bypass between Fulton Street and Kansas Avenue, leaving motorists to take alternate routes to their destinations.

And they've been doing so for months, much to the chagrin of many.

The good news, however, is that the newly constructed stretch of highway may be handling traffic in days.

City Manager Matt Allen said the bypass could be reopened between May 6 and May 17, a target date provided by the contractor about a month ago. Allen also said the contractor believes the project may be finished closer to the early part of that time frame.

The roadwork came as part of the new Schulman Crossing commercial development, and includes widening and reconstructing the bypass about one-third of a mile north and south of Schulman Avenue, along with adding turning lanes and a traffic signal.

While it's a big project, those accustomed to traveling the route still may wonder why the construction meant closing the road and not allowing traffic to pass in one lane.

In this instance, there were benefits to closing that portion of the bypass entirely, to include speeding up the work.

It takes longer when crews only work on one half of the road at a time. Plus, the quality of construction tends to be better when the job isn't done in parts.

And with an estimated price tag of more than $2 million — cost covered by the Kansas Department of Transportation and the city of Garden City — taxpayers should want the best possible return on their investment.

For now, we're left to wait to see the results. When the bypass does open — and hopefully soon — the hunch is motorists will find the upgrade well worth the wait, especially considering its part in leading to a new commercial development in the community.

So it goes on the road to progress.