Construction ongoing on 19th Street

City stormwater project disrupting student routines; will continue till mid November.


Ridley Beard

Construction on 19th Street.

By Campbell Leitch, Reporter

No one likes waking up early for school, but with the City’s stormwater infrastructure improvement project obstructing traffic on 19th Street, many students must leave earlier than normal to avoid tardiness.

For some, this adjustment hasn’t been easy. Junior Avery Goldman, who typically parks in the North parking lot, has struggled to make it to school on time since construction began.

“It takes like 5 more minutes because you have to go down the street just to go right back to where you just were,” Goldman said. “Traffic is worse because a lot of people are trying to do the same thing and since it’s a residential road, a lot of people park on the side of the road. Then you’re just sitting waiting for people to pass”

Even an extra five minutes can determine whether a student arrives at school before or after the bell rings.

“I’ve been late to my zero hour almost every time,” Goldman said. “I forget about the construction and am late because I underestimate how long it takes with the detour.”

Construction began in July, and many students were hopeful it would end before school started. When the intersection of 19th and Alabama opened August 31st, the news spread across the school.

However, before students were dismissed that day, construction had already begun on the adjacent intersection, and a new detour extended the route to the North parking lot.

“At first it was annoying, but when they moved it up it got even worse,” Goldman said. “The detour isn’t really clear.”

Most students are adjusting to the longer commute, but wonder how much longer the inconvenience will persist.

“Since construction started I’ve had to start leaving my house 10 to 15 minutes earlier because of all the traffic that I encounter,” said senior Ayo Obadare.

Unfortunately, it looks like Obadare and others will have to continue this routine for a while longer. The City of Lawrence anticipates that the project will not end until mid-November.

“At first I was like ‘oh this won’t be so bad, it’ll probably just be like a quick little fix,’” Obadare said. “But I didn’t realize that it would go on for this long.”

It is unclear to students passing by what exactly is happening on 19th Street, creating questions regarding the necessity of the project.

“I don’t know what they’re fixing,” Obadare said. “I don’t remember there being a problem with the roads but maybe that’s just me.”

Michael Leos, the City of Lawrence Public Information Officer for the 19th Street project, clarified the details and direction of the construction.

“The construction around 19th Street is a portion of the city’s ongoing stormwater improvement project,” Leos explained. “The project was created to resolve a series of flooding issues south of 19th Street by upgrading the existing stormwater infrastructure in that area.”

While the work inconveniences Lawrence High students, it is clear that once it is finished it will benefit the entire neighborhood. All students can do is continue to use the detour for the time remaining in the project.

“The construction for everything south of 19th Street will be completed by the mid-November date, and construction for north of 19th Street will begin next year,” Leos said. “This upgrade to the stormwater system should solve all of the flooding issues the city is experiencing at 19th and Missouri.”