LaForge & Budd Construction Company will be opening 23rd Street from Michigan to Joplin Street for through traffic on Friday.

LaForge & Budd Construction Company will be opening 23rd Street from Michigan to Joplin Street for through traffic on Friday.
Just a few days later, workers will be closing a portion of 23rd Street back down to commence another phase of the project — what looks to be the final one.
“It will probably take most of the summer,” said Bill Beasley, Pittsburg director of public works. “We’re hoping it will be finished quicker than that, but you never really know what’s going to happen.”
That’s been the case through the first phases of the project, which saw delays for weather and extra storm sewer and grading work before workers halted for the winter. LaForge and Budd started again on the project in March, finishing up with Phase I.
Phase II of the project, from Joplin Street to Broadway, will start on Monday. That section of street will be closed for several months during the construction process.
“We’re looking for some understanding while we finish the work out there,” Beasley said. “It will take a little time to get it fixed, and when it is fixed it will be a great improvement to accessibility to that area.”
Beasley said all the utilities in the area have been moved and added that once the street was closed, crews would start moving pavement, grading the road and compacting the new road surface. Phase II also includes improvements at Joplin Street, including a traffic light.
“We wanted to do it in phases so that we didn’t keep everybody without a street for an extended period of time,” Beasley said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a longer, drier construction time on this phase.”
Beasley said the project became necessary with the increase of traffic on 23rd Street following the completion of the 23rd Street Overpass. The project is funded 80 percent through the Kansas Department of Transportation, with the city footing the rest of the bill.
“It will be wonderful when it’s finished,” said John Van Gorden, interim Pittsburg City Manager. “It will give us a straight shot west from Rouse for people looking to go to north Pittsburg to shop or eat. It will be easier to travel, and should alleviate some of our traffic issues.”
Anyone with questions may call the public works department at 231-4170 for more information.

Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134