The cones are down and the trucks have moved off Campus Drive. On Thursday, Dec. 19, construction workers took down the barricades and reopened a major section of the US-50/83/400 bypass and traffic is once again flowing in both directions. The Spruce Street crossing was also reopened

The $11 million project started back in March. Its goal was to replace just over 3.5 miles of concrete and asphalt on the bypass. Some of this concrete dates back to 1985. The pavement age and the truck traffic made the project necessary.

The project was scheduled for completion by Thanksgiving but, as sometimes happens with road projects, there were some complications that delayed that completion date.

"This is a large project," said Ron Hall, KDOT's District 6 engineer. "We've had a few complications along the way that have delayed completion of the project, but we've kept those to a minimum."

While most of the bypass is open, the overpass at Kansas Avenue remains closed. Vehicles are using the access ramps to get past the overpass.

Besides the new concrete and asphalt, turn lanes were added at Campus Drive, lighting was improved at Fulton Street, a dynamic messaging sign was added on US-50 highway east of campus drive to inform drivers of road conditions and improvement at Spruce Street will limit road closures.

Koss Construction, of Topeka, is contractor on this project.

Lisa Knoll, Kansas Department of Transportation District 6 public affairs manager, said there is more work to be done on the overpass at Kansas Avenue. There is detail work from Kansas Avenue to Mary Street and that work requires a minimum temperature over a specific time period. The same is true for stripping. So further work on the bypass will depend on the weather temperature, Knoll said.

While this project is drawing to a close, an improved state economy is providing more funds for road projects in Kansas. Some preservation projects are in the works for Finney County for 2020. Projects are now with the engineers and technicians.

In 2020, Venture Corporation will start a project on US-83 in Finney County. Passing lanes will be added on US-83 from the US-160 junction in Haskell County and extend into Finney County 2.8 miles. This $27.6 million project is scheduled for completion in May 2021.

In general, there are two types of road construction projects. Preservation projects involve repairing and maintaining asphalt and concrete.

Extension and modernization projects include adding shoulders and/or passing lanes. Extension and modernization projects require more extensive design, plus moving utilities.

These types of projects are starting to come back because the state finances are in a better situation.

The secretary of KDOT has been out on Round 2 of consults in local communities to find out what the area's needs are so future projects can be planned.