Archive for Sunday, May 24, 1998


May 24, 1998


The South Lawrence Trafficway tops the wish list of Douglas County commissioners for the state's comprehensive transportation program.

It doesn't take long for Douglas County Commissioner Mark Buhler to think of his wish list for the state's comprehensive transportation program.

``The first 10 would be the South Lawrence Trafficway,'' Buhler says with a chuckle. ``The South Lawrence Trafficway, the South Lawrence Trafficway, the South Lawrence Trafficway ...''

Though Buhler would be happy at this point to get the first two lanes of the eastern leg built, he isn't talking just about completing the eastern leg of the long-embattled trafficway. He also would like the state to add the third and fourth lanes originally called for in the project.

``I'd like to see lanes three and four all the way around,'' he said.

Other projects on Buhler's wish list include additional funding for improvements for Sixth Street and attention to what he termed a dangerous U.S. Highway 59, which received a $9 million push Friday when Congress approved a highway funding package.

Highway 59 ``is probably going to require a whole new realignment,'' Buhler said. ``It's probably a $100 million project. It's a big guy.''

Commissioner Dean Nieder's hopes are similar.

``My No. 1 priority is trying to figure out a way to finish the trafficway,'' Nieder said. ``Then I think we need to address Highway 59 from Lawrence south to the county line, well, really to Ottawa. There have been a lot of accidents.''

An interchange at 15th Street to the trafficway also would please Nieder. And though he doesn't think it's likely, some work on U.S. Highway 40 to Topeka also wouldn't hurt, Nieder said.

Commission Chair Tom Taul was not available for comment.

The eight-year comprehensive highway program the Kansas Legislature enacted in 1989 ended June 30, 1997. Cities and counties across the state now are forwarding their requests to the state for inclusion in the new program.

A memo from the League of Kansas Municipalities and Kansas Association of Counties to commissioners says ``it is essential that local governing bodies act soon to identify specific transportation needs that could be addressed by the new program.''

The groups asked cities and counties to identify needs and financing alternatives as well as ``demonstration of strong statewide, grassroots support for a new transportation program.'' They also asked for help developing a strategy to build legislative support for a new transportation program.

-- Deb Gruver's phone message number is 832-7165. Her e-mail address is

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