Demolition is underway for the first of the buildings being torn down to make way for downtown Topeka’s Polk-Quincy Viaduct to be rebuilt and realigned.
A contractor on Sept. 7 began tearing down the house at 135 S.W. Van Buren, where work is being done this week to remove the foundation, said Kate Craft, a spokeswoman for KDOT.
What will the viaduct project do?
The viaduct project seeks to improve safety by replacing and flattening out Interstate 70’s sharp curve near S.E. 3rd Street by moving to the north much of the highway that currently runs to the west of that curve.
The curve was created when KDOT in 1963 built the viaduct, an aging, elevated four-lane segment of I-70 that runs between S.W. Polk and S.E. Quincy streets.
Officials with Topeka’s city government since at least 2006 have sought to replace and realign the viaduct.
KDOT has acquired 18 of 28 properties with buildings that will be razed
KDOT this year has been negotiating to gain “total acquisition” of 41 properties in the area involved, including 28 that include buildings.
KDOT has acquired all nine houses it needs for the project. Those are at 120 S.W. Tyler, 122 S.W. Tyler, 113 S.W. Harrison, 125 S.W. Harrison, 127 S.W. Harrison, 128 S.W. Harrison, 130 S.W. Harrison, 127 S.W. Van Buren and 135 S.W. Van Buren.
KDOT has possession of nine of the 17 commercial properties containing structures it plans to acquire for the project, according to the Shawnee County Appraiser’s office.
Appraiser’s office records say those include buildings at:
• 103 S.W. Van Buren, 109 S.W. Van Buren and 112 S.W. Harrison, all formerly owned by Shawnee Woodwork Inc.
• 115 S.W. Jackson, formerly owned by Piping Contractors of Kansas Inc.
• 121 S. Kansas Ave., owned by the Steven J. Mohan Trust.
• 127 S. Kansas Ave., formerly owned by Gary D. Smith, doing business as Gary D. Smith Construction.
• 128 S.W. Van Buren, formerly owned by Pro Keyless Entry & Hardware LLC.
• 129 S.W. Jackson and 135 S.W. Jackson, formerly owned by Topeka FM Comm Inc.
KDOT hasn’t officially acquired these properties it needs for viaduct
The eight commercial properties appraiser’s office records show KDOT has yet to acquire include the following locations:
• 101 S.W. Tyler, owned by First Avenue Leasing LLC.
• 116 S. Kansas Ave., owned by Team Kansas Inc.
• 122 S.W. 2nd, owned by KPL Gas Service.
• 124 S.W. Van Buren, owned by Anthony L. Graves.
• 129 S.E. Quincy, owned by TFI LLC.
• 200 S.E. 3rd, owned by Uriel Chavira.
• 631 S.W. 1st, owned by Ryder Truck Rental.
• And 600 S.W. 2nd, owned by Ryder Truck Rental.
KDOT also has yet to buy the buildings that house the Topeka charity Let’s Help at 200 S. Kansas Ave. and the Topeka office and warehouse at 215 S.E. Quincy for Kansas City, Missouri-based Harvesters, the Community Food Network.
Harvesters plans to move its Topeka operations to Lawrence and remains in talks with KDOT to sell it that property, said Harvesters president and CEO Stephen Davis.
“We don’t have an agreement to sell this building, but we feel good about where we’re at,” he said.
Let’s Help hasn’t determined when or where it will move, executive director Jennifer Loeffler said Tuesday.