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Author Topic: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.  (Read 824 times)

route56

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I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« on: December 05, 2022, 01:53:29 PM »

This summer, KDOT started a project to make repairs on the I-70 bridges through Downtown Topeka, including the Polk-Quincy viaduct.

During the course of the project, part of the barrier wall on the viaduct broke off and fell into a parking lot. Fortunately, the lot was vacant and no people were hurt or cars damaged.

https://www.wibw.com/2022/07/01/crews-working-remove-barrier-wall-along-polk-quincy-viaduct-i-70-downtown-topeka/

KDOT wound up removing the rest of the bad railing and installed a chain-link fence. The outside lanes continued to be closed during the construction season.

This past weekend, KDOT closed the Polk-Quincy viaduct to set up the viaduct for its final configuration.

https://www.wibw.com/2022/11/28/i-70-close-both-directions-different-times-first-weekend-december/

The Polk-Quincy viaduct is now permanently reduced to one lane in each direction across the Viaduct. The right lane drops off westbound at Adams and eastbound at 1st Street. The travel lane across the viaduct is shifted outward from the center, giving a little more shoulder.

A yellow sign has been posted just before the East Topeka exit advising that I-70 is reduced to one lane through downtown, and to encourage thru traffic to use I-470.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2022, 04:04:36 PM »

No dropping to one lane is not good man.
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Scott5114

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2022, 06:34:53 PM »

If they're going to permanently reduce the viaduct to two lanes, they need to just reroute I-70 over I-470. A two-lane viaduct in an urban area isn't an Interstate.
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J N Winkler

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2022, 06:49:18 PM »

If they're going to permanently reduce the viaduct to two lanes, they need to just reroute I-70 over I-470. A two-lane viaduct in an urban area isn't an Interstate.

It sounds like the "permanent" reduction is just for this structure, with construction of its replacements--which together will carry two lanes in each direction--due to start in 2025.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2022, 07:54:53 PM »

If they're going to permanently reduce the viaduct to two lanes, they need to just reroute I-70 over I-470. A two-lane viaduct in an urban area isn't an Interstate.

It sounds like the "permanent" reduction is just for this structure, with construction of its replacements--which together will carry two lanes in each direction--due to start in 2025.
Should be designed to be 3x3. Kinda short sighted.
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J N Winkler

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2022, 09:18:43 PM »

Should be designed to be 3x3. Kinda short sighted.

I suspect it will be adequate for the foreseeable future.  Unlike Wichita, whose population has increased with every census, Topeka actually lost people in 2020 and has only about 1,000 more people than it did in 1970.  It has also lost big employers like the AT&SF.
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seicer

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2022, 09:36:57 PM »

If they're going to permanently reduce the viaduct to two lanes, they need to just reroute I-70 over I-470. A two-lane viaduct in an urban area isn't an Interstate.

An urban interstate doesn't equate to high traffic counts nor to an artificial lane count based on some arbitrary notion that urban areas need more lanes.

- I-81 through downtown Syracuse, New York functions quite well as a four-lane viaduct. Its re-routing to the I-481 bypass works quite well because of the viaduct's low traffic counts.
- I-64 through Cherokee Park in Louisville, Kentucky functions quite well with a four-lane tunnel. While there was a plan for a third tunnel bore, high costs led to the proposal to simply widen I-71 and ramps on I-264.
- I-64 and I-77 through Charleston, West Virginia have four-lane segments.

There are other examples. Regardless, the viaduct is being planned for expansion if it warrants it in the future (https://5516384e-9248-42bd-9775-cd9cbd001bfb.filesusr.com/ugd/d81461_613deb24ed374c8ab7be4fd88e9fa622.pdf).
« Last Edit: December 12, 2022, 10:23:23 PM by seicer »
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Scott5114

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2022, 11:05:46 PM »

If they're going to permanently reduce the viaduct to two lanes, they need to just reroute I-70 over I-470. A two-lane viaduct in an urban area isn't an Interstate.

An urban interstate doesn't equate to high traffic counts nor to an artificial lane count based on some arbitrary notion that urban areas need more lanes.

They're not reducing it to two lanes in each direction. It's two lanes total. That does not meet Interstate standard even for rural areas.
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seicer

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2022, 09:05:09 AM »

Even still, it's temporary and done as a safety measure until a new viaduct is in place. There is an adequate alternate route that through traffic can take, and it's what the DOT recommends (https://goo.gl/maps/KQqCLqXy6W8GeGSL6). It's not unprecedented, and there isn't much that can be done until either new barriers are in place (which would be a waste of taxpayer dollars) or a new viaduct is constructed.

I can give you a list of interstates that have one-lane (in each direction) segments. The affected portion is just 3,300 feet or so.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2022, 09:09:48 AM by seicer »
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skluth

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2022, 11:29:21 AM »

This is going to be a very unpopular opinion here but it probably won't matter because I doubt there are many urbanist types in Topeka.  I-70 could easily be removed from Polk to SE 10th Av without much impact on most drivers. I remember driving through Topeka a few times on I-70 and never noticed much traffic and very little was going through Topeka like me. I could have easily used I-470 but I didn't want to pay the extra 50 or whatever for five more miles of Kansas Turnpike; there was little difference in time either way. Out of area traffic going north of the river will use either KS 4 or US 75, so they don't need I-70 through Topeka either. So the only drivers on I-70 through Topeka besides the locals are shunpikers like me.

Don't worry. It ain't happening.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2022, 02:11:58 PM »

I would actually agree that it's feasible to just demolish I-70 through Topeka and send it over 470.  It's a convoluted path through the city with goofy curves and ugly bridges.  And Topeka isn't a big enough city to warrant a freeway through the heart of the it.

The fun part comes in thinking up a better way to do the South Topeka interchange in this scenario.  One would want a much smoother transition for I-70 from freeway to turnpike.  I was recently panning around the area thinking up what it might look like if it was built like that originally, with I-70 going around rather than punching the core. (I'm thinking there'd be no freeway west of downtown and a spur poking in from the east.)

This being Kansas, though, there's no way they're not going to simply replace the elevated structure as-is.  They don't have the balls to try anything else.
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J N Winkler

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2022, 02:42:24 PM »

I don't think getting rid of I-70 in west Topeka would work.  This segment is actually pretty busy, to the extent it has been widened to (almost) three lanes divided by adding a lane at every entry that is dropped at the next exit.  It actually carries more traffic than the segment between downtown and the East Topeka Interchange.
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silverback1065

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2022, 03:07:29 PM »

I'd remove it from Downtown Topeka and get rid of the death curve in KCK.
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route56

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Re: I-70 Topeka Polk-Quincy Viaduct changes.
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2022, 10:31:38 AM »

Photos of the new configuration of the Polk-Quincy:


Warning sign westbound on the Turnpike approaching East Topeka.


New sign for Adams on the California Avenue bridge.


New lane markings between California Avenue and Adams Street.


New exit sign for Adams.


Approaching the 45 MPH curve.


The new barriers on the Polk-Quincy Viaduct.


The right lane picks up at the west end of the Polk-Quincy Viaduct.



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