September 25, 2023

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23rd St. Mess

It doesn’t do much good at this time to point fingers about what’s gone wrong with a local street project but hopefully some lessons will have been learned.

The long, frustrating and costly situation associated with the 23rd Street project is an ugly embarrassment and certainly sends a negative visual message about Lawrence to out of town motorists who use this route when entering or leaving Lawrence.

It’s more than a mere embarrassment for local merchants who line the street and probably have lost thousands, if not millions, of dollars and lost angered customers.

It’s also an embarrassment for local residents who want all aspects of Lawrence to reflect excellence on the city.

Something has gone wrong. Probably a lot of things: poor planning and scheduling; the wrong time of the year to start the project; the inability of various contractors to get necessary materials and equipment delivered on time; and poor weather conditions. All resulting in stalled traffic, angered motorists and giving the city a major black eye.

Many have questioned why contractors or city officials have not arranged to bring in powerful lights to allow construction work to proceed during night time hours as is done in other cities.
Was a cash penalty inserted in the overall construction contract if the job was not finished by a certain date? If not, why not?

Regardless, the mess sends a powerful and damaging message about Lawrence and how it handles major construction projects.

Unfortunately and based on previous road improvement projects, it probably won’t be long before there are new disruptions or corrections erupting along the redone street to puzzle and anger motorists, merchants and visitors to our city.

Lawrence deserves better.