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Archive for Tuesday, February 27, 1996

TURNPIKE PROJECT TO SLOW TRAFFIC FLOW

February 27, 1996

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If you regularly commute via the Kansas Turnpike to Topeka, get ready for a slightly longer trip starting today.

The West Lawrence interchange is beginning a $3.1 million, four-phase construction project that will last into the fall.

To drivers, that means some of the lanes at the toll plaza will be closed, which will probably mean longer lines getting on an off, according to turnpike officials.

Other inconveniences include no customer parking and no wide-load exit.

"The reconstruction of this interchange may cause some temporary traffic problems from time to time," said Rich Olson, the design and construction engineer for the project, in a prepared statement.

"But the end result will be an updated interchange able to handle increased traffic and feature dedicated lanes for K-TAG customers," Olson said.

Starting this afternoon, the current dedicated K-TAG lane will be closed and there will be two exit lanes and one entry lane. K-TAG customers will be routed through a "dual-mode" lane.

The first phase should last through mid-May. It will include construction of a new toll building and a utility tunnel. McDonald Drive north of Second Street will be widened to the toll plaza.

In the second phase, construction will move to the east side of the toll plaza. At that time, there will be one lane of entry and three lanes of exit traffic through the plaza. The phase will include construction of a new dedicated K-TAG lane and widening on the east side of McDonald Drive. That phase should be complete by the end of June.

During the third phase, work will be completed on the center part of the toll plaza. Drivers will have one entry and two exit lanes in that phase.

The final phase of the project will include taking out the existing personnel building and the final existing tollbooth and finishing the pavement.

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