Despite snow, ice and rain, crews finished a tunnel construction project under Santa Fe Street in downtown Olathe 10 days early.
Drivers in the area encountered a detour during the project. The project was originally scheduled for completion on April 18, 2019, but the road reopened on April 8.
An underground tunnel runs from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Central Booking Facility (101 N. Kansas Ave.) to the Johnson County Courthouse (100 N. Kansas Ave.). This project created a branch off the existing tunnel leading to the new courthouse, currently under construction on the northeast corner of Santa Fe and Kansas Avenue. The tunnel is used to securely transport inmates.
Construction began on Feb. 12. Crews put in weekends hours to come in ahead of schedule.
“The project team met with staff from the city of Olathe regularly to discuss progress and next steps. This was a very cooperative effort,” said Dan Wehmueller, project manager. “The contractors did a great job exceeding expectations with plenty of pre-planning, communication and hard work.”
The construction project was extensive.
Following the street closure, crews sawcut the pavement and excavated across the street, north to south at a 45-degree angle from the new building.
After reinforcement and the placement of formwork, 347,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured for the foundations, walls and lid. After the 200+ ft tunnel was waterproofed and backfilled, crews began street repairs. From Kansas to Cherry, the street was milled and repaved. The street reopening included repair to the impacted landscaping, brick pavers and curbs.
The impacted area was on Santa Fe between Chestnut Street and Kansas Avenue. Barricades closed sections of Santa Fe to through traffic at the following locations:
- In the westbound lane just west of Chestnut Street.
- In both lanes of traffic just west of Cherry Street.
- In both lanes of traffic just east of Kansas Avenue.
Detours in the area routed eastbound traffic on Santa Fe south on Kansas Avenue, east on Loula Street and north on Chestnut Street back to Santa Fe. The detour route for westbound traffic on Santa Fe took drivers south on Chestnut Street, west on Loula Street and north on Kansas Avenue back to Santa Fe.
The following traffic was impacted:
- Vehicles traveling northbound or southbound on Chestnut Street could not head west on Santa Fe.
- Vehicles traveling westbound on Santa Fe past Water Street detoured north or south on Chestnut Street.
- Vehicles traveling eastbound on Santa Fe past Walnut Street detoured north or south on Kansas Avenue.
- Vehicles traveling northbound or southbound on Kansas Avenue could not head east on Santa Fe.
- Vehicles traveling north on Cherry Street past Park Street could only travel east on Santa Fe.
The tunnel was constructed as a part of the new courthouse project which is funded by a quarter-cent public safety sales tax voters approved in November 2016.