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tunnel construction site on a snowy day

Traffic flow restored on Santa Fe ahead of schedule

Ten days ahead of schedule, the stretch of Santa Fe in downtown Olathe between Kansas Avenue and Chestnut Street opened to through traffic at 4 a.m., Monday, April 8. Traffic diversion on that section of road began Feb. 11, to build an underground tunnel as a part of the new courthouse project.  

Currently, an underground tunnel runs from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Central Booking Facility (101 N. Kansas Avenue) to the Johnson County Courthouse (100 N. Kansas Avenue). This project creates 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.

Expected to reopen on April 18, the feat was accomplished early despite snow, ice and rain and the crews put in weekends hours, as well, 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 eight-week 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 on the 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.

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