Part of roundabout opens for use

Ray Nolting/Sun photo


A crew member from Advanced Workzone Services on Tuesday morning marks a line for painting a lane boundary for the opening of a portion of the new traffic roundabout at the U.S. 160 and U.S. 59 junction east of Altamont. Part of the roundabout opened at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday as project work continues.

ALTAMONT — The roundabout east of Altamont on U.S. 59 at the junction of U.S. 160 partially opened as of 11:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Most of the north-south shoofly and part of the east-west shoofly will be closed to allow the project to be completed. 

Westbound traffic will exit the roundabout on the south side and turn west on what will remain of the east-west shoofly. Southbound traffic will exit the roundabout on the south and take the south shoofly to Ottawa Road. Eastbound and northbound traffic will take the appropriate exits from the roundabout. 

Signs will guide drivers around the single-land roundabout, and drivers must yield to traffic in the circle before entering.

Work continues on connecting the western leg of the roundabout to the existing alignment of U.S. 160 into Altamont. Work also continues on the south leg of the roundabout. 

The northern section of the paved north-south shoofly and the eastern section of the paved east-west shoofly will be milled and the asphalt saved for future Kansas Department of Transportation projects. 

On the original timeline the $3.1 million project was to be done in the summer. However, work stopped for the winter months beginning in November 2019 and didn’t resume until after the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring. LaForge and Budd Construction of Parsons has 115 working days to get the single-lane roundabout completed. 

Lights still need to be added to the western leg of the roundabout exit lanes.

Priscilla Petersen, a KDOT spokesperson in Chanute, said KDOT asks drivers to obey the signs and pavement markings and to slow down through the work zone.

Steve Bacon, a KDOT engineering technician for the roundabout, said the project likely will not be done until December, depending on weather. There is still road to tear out and concrete to pour and cure.

“It’s starting to come together,” he said of the project.

He also asked drivers to be alert and follow the pavement markings and signs.

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