City of Topeka announces 2023 “Fix Our Streets” Projects

15 road projects slated to begin in 2023
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 4:38 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -Road projects ear marked for construction in 2023 include some small and some big. Braxton Copley is Public Works Director for the City of Topeka.

“A major project that we have is in design and we hope to get out to bid very shortly is 17th street which is funded out of the countywide half-cent sales tax,” said Copley. “That will be from I-470 all the way to MacVicar that will be phased over 3 years.”

In 2014, Shawnee county voters approved a 15-year extension to a half-cent sales tax designed to be used for specifically identified road projects which are included in the “Fix Our Streets” projects list from the City of Topeka.

“The countywide half-cent sales tax identified certain particular projects,” said Copley. “For example, the 17th street project was funded out of the countywide half-cent sales tax. So that has relieved some of the pressure on the citywide half-cent sales tax so that we can focus on city streets because we have that major arterial which is extremely expensive construction to be able to fund that out of the countywide half-cent sales tax.”

The tax raises an average of $15 million a year for street improvements, but the city’s projects outgrow the funding.

“We have 1500 lane miles of streets and the half cent sales tax is great, but it’s obviously not enough to go in and redo every street,” said Copley. “So, daily we have to make very hard determinations in terms of how do we prioritize the work, what streets rise to the level of where we have to go in and do them.”

Despite the demand of street repairs, Copley says they are being as efficient and effective as they can.

“There is a tremendous amount of engineering judgement that goes in in terms of what is the appropriate treatment,” said Copley. “Back in the old days it used to always be worst first. Every project was full depth reconstruction. Well, we found that by having a mixture of tools in our tool kit, in terms of micro-surfacing, mill and overlay, full depth reconstruction, we’re able to do a far greater number of streets and keep good streets good.”

Construction for road projects typically begins in March and can run through November, depending on the weather. For a full list of projects included in “Fix Our Streets”, click HERE.