KDOT to rebuild section of K-7 Highway in Crawford County

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Weather permitting, work is scheduled to begin on Monday to rebuild a section of Kansas Highway 7 in Crawford County, a Kansas Department of Transportation statement said.

The KDOT project -- tabbed at a cost of $7.9 million -- will begin at the junction of K-7 and Kansas Highway 126, and it will continue north for six miles to the south city limits of Girard. That particular segment of K-7 will be closed to through traffic early on Monday, Nov. 20. The highway will remain closed until the project is completed in mid-November 2007, the KDOT statement said.

Heckert Construction in Pittsburg is the primary contractor for the project, which will take about a year to complete because of the extensive work that needs to be done to the highway, KDOT Pittsburg Area Construction Engineer Bob Gudgen said. The existing roadway will be ripped up and new asphalt will be installed, creating two new 12-foot-wide driving lanes, two new 10-foot-wide shoulders on either side of the roadway, and wider ditches. About the first 10 feet of the rebuilt highway will be a recovery lane for motorists in danger of swerving off the road, Gudgen said.

"It (the project) will improve the safety on that road immensely," Gudgen said.

After the project begins, motorists will need to take a detour by traveling east on Kansas Highway 47 to U.S. Highway 69, then south on US-69 to K-126, and then west on K-126 to K-7.

Other improvements on that section of K-7 include reconstruction of the intersection at K-7 and K-126, replacement of the Second Cow Creek and Limestone Creek bridges, the addition of acceleration and deceleration lanes at major crossroads, the replacement of two existing culverts with bridges, guard fence upgrades, and new signs, the KDOT statement said.

Construction crews will most likely begin work next week, and then take some time off for the Thanksgiving holiday, as most of the inspection work needed for the project cannot be done during that time, Gudgen said. While portions of K-7 will re-open after the project begins, the section that runs from 590th Avenue to K-126 near Girard will be closed for the winter season, he said.

KDOT crews completed a similar project earlier this year that resulted in the reconstruction of K-7 from the U.S. Highway 400 junction at Cherokee north for five miles to the K-126 junction.