Topeka, KS (WIBW)-- A major construction project is coming to Wanamaker. Money from a 2.6 million dollar capital improvement project fund will be put to use starting Monday.
The nearly $900,000 project will begin Monday morning and it will include road repairs from 21st Street to Westport Drive and the construction of a cement median in front of the Walmart/Best Buy intersection.
"We're excited about this project, it's going to be a huge benefit to safety but it does come with some controversy," Betty Voss, Traffic Engineer with the City of Topeka said Friday at a news conference.
That controversy is a bold red line on the construction planning map along Wanamaker, it will soon be a 12 foot cement median $1,000 feet in length from 17th Street to Westport Drive.
"The median that we're proposing is a solid median, you can't turn left over it. If your coming out of the driveway you have to turn right so it's a solid raised median," Voss said.
"We're moving fast, we know that it's extremely fast, this wasn't necessarily anything we planned. What were up against is a winter coming up and id rather stand up here today saying we're moving fast, than up here in December saying were tying Wanamaker up until after Christmas," City of Topeka Spokesperson, David Bevins added.
The city says the sense of urgency in this construction is surrounded by safety and capacity. There have been over 20 accidents this year on this section of Wanamaker; two serious roll over accidents.
"I think we can reduce 65% of the accidents. We wont have any right angle accidents or left angle accidents. In three years ‘05, ‘06, ‘07 we had 69 crashes in this general area," Voss said.
The project, which will also include surface repairs from SW 6th and Wanamaker to Murray Hill road is expected to be complete by November 7th.
"We will do the best we can as far as timing the signals and keeping traffic moving. But quite frankly, Wanamaker will be a mess for two months but it will be beautiful when it's done."
During the day expect one lane closed in both directions. At night when most of the work will be done, there will be times that Wanamaker will be closed in both directions.