Traffic on North Main will be interrupted for about eight weeks as the city undertakes a street upgrade project in the 100 block of North Main.
The project will close the block from First Street to Blaine. The project is expected to take 40 working days so it should be complete around Thanksgiving depending on the weather, said Russ Rambat, Pratt Public Works director.
During construction, truck traffic from the north will be routed around K-61 while truck traffic from the south will be rerouted along K-64.
All other traffic will be rerouted with local signs giving instructions downtown.
The project will change the block in two ways. First, all the brick will be removed from curb to curb for the first 40 feet north of First Street and replaced with concrete.
In the rest of the block up to Blaine, the brick in the middle 24 feet of the street will be removed and replaced with concrete while the rest of the 12 feet on both sides of the street will be left as brick, Rambat said.
Where the brick is removed, the street will be taken all the way down to the dirt. The construction will not affect any underground utilities.
Once the brick has been removed, the dirt will be prepared and a coating of fly ash will be added to give the concrete a hard surface when it is poured.
Once the fly ash has set on the dirt the rest of the construction materials will be added and the concrete will be poured. The new concrete layer will be 11 inches thick.
The brick is being replaced because it has deteriorated to a point that it is very rough and there is nothing the city can do to fix it other than replace it.
Many places on North Main have gotten so bad they have been repaired but the repairs are only temporary. Many other places on North Main also need to be fixed and the problem is not going to get any better.
The old brick was never designed to handle the amount of traffic that travels North Main every day, especially not the heavy truck traffic.
Vehicles traveling on North Main make a lot of noise as they go up and down the street. The vibrations also shake the houses so getting the brick replaced will help remedy those issues.
This is a KLINK or Kansas LINK project that links city streets that are also highways with the highways outside of town.
The Kansas Department of Transportation pays 75 percent of the project cost while the city is responsible for the other 25 percent. Estimated cost of the project is over $200,000.
Work is underway to improve the rest of North Main all the way to the railroad tracks. The city has applied for a geometric improvement that will pave the center 24 feet of the street the entire distance between Blaine and the railroad tracks.
The results of that application are expected any day now. Rambat said he is optimistic that the city will get the grant. If the grant is approved, the project would start sometime in 2016.