Thornton Street Reconstruction Boosts Infrastructure and Water Quality for Leavenworth

Posted on Thursday, May 13th, 2021 by
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Every 3 years, the City of Leavenworth, Kansas conducts a city-wide pavement analysis, allowing them to rate each street and identify which improvements are most pressing. The results revealed the Thornton Street pavement was in poor condition. The repairs needed went beyond simple maintenance, so the city decided to perform a full reconstruction on the roadway. The city also saw this as an opportunity to identify and address other infrastructure needs within the corridor.

To make certain we were moving forward in the most effective way, the city asked our team to perform a concept study. This study was used to determine a roadway section, roadway geometrics, and project costs in 2016. These findings helped the city establish a holistic plan for reconstruction. They selected Affinis to perform the design two years later.

Before beginning the design process, we surveyed the entire area and walked it with the city to determine their needs. Together, we found the pavement, curb, gutter, and sidewalks would all need to be reconstructed. These extensive changes provided the perfect opportunity to update drainage and stormwater structures under the road.


To meet the current and future needs, Thornton Street, from 10th Street to 5th Avenue, was designed to include a two to three-lane section with concrete curb and gutter and a 5-foot sidewalk constructed on both sides of the street. The plans also incorporated storm sewer system replacement and expansion to provide adequate hydraulic capacity. The existing traffic signal at 2nd Avenue was replaced and included ADA compliant features as well.


In addition to bringing Thornton Street up to city standards, Leavenworth was also interested in improving water quality. To meet the city’s best management practices (BMPs), a bioswale was designed for the area within the right-of-way between 7th Street and 5th Avenue. Hydrodynamic separators were also used in areas where right-of-way was limited. The separators are part of the enclosed storm sewer system and capture any trash, silt, and debris before it leaves the system, in turn raising the water’s quality. To maintain its effectiveness, the city’s staff is tasked with removing any collected trash from the system.

The Thornton Street Improvements project was a two-year construction effort, as reducing impact and disruption was of the utmost importance. This residential corridor is located near a school with many driveways with access directly onto the roadway. It is also a busy route for north/south and east/west commuters. The design provided access to homes throughout the duration of the project, as well as the city’s service center. When working with utilities, it was important to maintain continuous service for critical facilities, including Fort Leavenworth, the prison, and the neighboring school. Collaborating closely with each utility, including AT&T who had a duct bank with several fiber optic facilities under the roadway, allowed us to keep each entity online.

The completed project meets each of the city’s goals. It improved water quality, safety, and traffic flow helping to move the City of Leavenworth forward.

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