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City, businesses hope Vine construction is smooth

By DAWNE LEIKER

dleiker@dailynews.net

A new driving surface for Vine Street from 13th to 22nd Street likely will be in place by the end of the summer, but until then motorists and businesses will have to come to grips with a few construction inconveniences.

Staff members from the city of Hays, Kansas Department of Transportation, Pavers Inc., and Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers fielded questions from Vine Street business representatives during a public information meeting Tuesday night.

City of Hays Assistant Public Works Director John Braun told the group the project, which will get started Tuesday, will be "very similar" to the reconstruction two years ago of Vine from 22nd to 27th.

The project will entail replacement of the driving surface only and will proceed in three phases.

The first phase will close the two lanes on the west side of the road southbound and the center turn lane.

No left turns will be allowed during the construction project.

"You can imagine Vine Street traffic being closed down to one lane each direction and being slowed down -- speed limit is going to be posted at 20 to 25 miles per hour through the construction zone," Braun said. "If one person stopped to try to make a left turn and traffic is backed up a half a mile behind them, nobody would get anywhere because there's going to be a constant stream of traffic coming from the other direction."

Phase two, which Braun estimates will begin at the end of May, will affect the northbound lanes on the east side of the road. The third phase will involve the 14-foot center lane. The three phases are estimated to be completed by the end of July, depending on weather conditions.

Traffic signals at 22nd and 13th streets likely will be changed to a time sequence throughout the construction.

"We'll be trying to maximize the flow of traffic through those intersections," Braun said.

In response to a question about how much advance notice businesses would be given prior to their entrances being closed off during construction, Dan Holloway of CFS said businesses would have some input on those decisions.

"This is just the start of working with you and discussing how it goes, understanding at some point, we're going to have to go ahead and do it," Holloway said of closing entrances. "We want to know what's the best time and try to work that out."