By unanimous vote Monday, Douglas County commissioners chose to add their signatures to a Lawrence letter to the Kansas Department of Transportation in objection to a new route for U.S. Highway 24.
The proposal to have the highway rerouted to the same roadway as the Kansas Turnpike seems counterintuitive to Dean Nieder, Douglas County Commission chairman.
"They are already concerned about traffic on I-70," Nieder said. "Why would they want to take away 24?"
Leavenworth County commissioners are pushing for construction of a new U.S. 24 south from Tonganoxie to a new turnpike interchange, then west to Topeka along the turnpike.
That would likely leave the maintenance of the existing Highway 24 to the counties, Nieder said.
City commissioners are opposed to the change as well, saying it would hurt the viability of commercial and industrial areas in North Lawrence.
It also could hurt the Lawrence Municipal Airport, which is getting a new hangar and may receive other improvements, in part to capitalize on expected air traffic created by the racetrack being built in Wyandotte County.
"It's a concern of the city and county both," Nieder said. "It's still going to be KDOT's decision."
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