BEL AIRE, Kan. (KSNW) — Bel Aire Mayor Jim Benage shared his frustrations on the road construction on Woodlawn in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

“We are frustrated with the slow progress, but we need to be very intentional on how we proceed. Not doing so, could cause the City even more problems,” said Benage.

Benage said the city is being sent questions, some of which he had an answer to:

Question: What is going on with the progress of the construction?

“The work on the asphalt road north of the tracks to 45th street has been suspended pending an on-going investigation into the failure of the east lanes. The wheel paths in the east lanes are deforming, cracking, slipping, and sinking. The City is leading an investigation into why this is occurring,” said Benage.

Question: When will the soil studies be completed?

“In August, the City retained Terrecon to collect five coring samples. Those samples showed what was installed under the asphalt. The samples confirmed that the correct materials were in place, but raised concerns about weathered shale soils, the amount of AB-3 rock installed, and high moisture levels. This led the Project Engineer (MKEC), with the agreement of the City, to retain GSI to perform soil bearing capacity/strength testing at 24 different locations concentrated in the east lanes between the rail road tracks and 45th Street. Some testing was done south of the tracks and in the west lanes for comparison purposes. GSI also installed piezometers to start the process of measuring the depth and amount of ground water that may be present. GSI performed this testing on October 16-18. We are currently waiting for the GSI data to be released and to obtain GSI’s preliminary report regarding the stability of the sub-grade under the east lanes,” said Benage.

Question: When will results be presented?

“The GSI results will be evaluated by MKEC, KDOT, and the City’s engineer. Then a plan will be developed for repairing the east lanes and finishing the project. As soon as this plan is developed and put in place, it will be shared with the public,” said Benage.

Question: The weather has turned cold, and the window has closed to lay down asphalt. Will we have to live with the mess till Spring?

“Based on what we know right now, unfortunately, it is likely that fixing the east lanes will require the project to be pushed into the spring. Based on the results of the testing, temporary fixes will need to occur to provide a safe route during the winter season, e.g., patching holes, etc.,” said Benage.

Benage says for now, the city will continue northbound traffic in the middle lane with traffic cones.

The city’s engineers are advising not to move traffic back to the east (northbound) lanes with the current condition of the roadbed.

Since the city is still working with traffic cones and not permanent stripping on the pavement, the traffic light at 45th will continue to be a four-way stop.

“Like I said, we all want this finished. But we also want a quality road that will last us for years into the future. That demands the City be very deliberate in how we proceed. The additional pain we all feel, will pay off in a quality road for the long term,” said Benage.