Douglas County Commissioners next Wednesday will study a proposal by the Kansas Turnpike Authority that would save building one bridge over the turnpike for the South Lawrence Trafficway.
However, KTA's idea calls for charging a quarter per trip for through traffic on the trafficway to use KTA's bridge over the turnpike without using the turnpike.
Rodney Fogo, KTA chief engineering manager, said the proposal means that a second bridge over the turnpike would not need to be built for through traffic. He estimated that the step would save at least $1.5 million on the trafficway's cost.
KTA's original plans called for building a bridge at the interchange site, which is northwest of Lawrence, for access to the turnpike from the trafficway.
Fogo stressed that KTA's revised plans were not firm and that KTA was "not trying to push anything down the county's throat" concerning its proposal.
However, he said he thought the plans would benefit the project.
"Twenty-five cents is a pretty small price to pay to save building a bridge," he said.
Fogo said two toll booths would be needed in this plan, which would add to the KTA's cost for the interchange.
John Pasley, trafficway project manager, said he told KTA officials that traffic can cross over the turnpike at no cost on bridges at Kasold Drive, Trailriders Road and County Road 1029.
In a related development, KTA is evaluating the installation of automatic vehicle identification devices at all of the turnpike's interchanges, including the trafficway's. Fogo said the devices are used in other states and work like the bar code scanning equipment on railroads, with a window sticker on vehicles providing the code. The devices are used by frequent turnpike travelers.
KTA will take two years to decide whether to install the devices, he said.
If the devices are installed at the trafficway's junction with the turnpike, the interchange would be expanded from two lanes to four lanes. Pasley said such an expansion would not exceed the trafficway's 450-foot right of way for the additional two lanes at the interchange.