Archive for Friday, September 21, 2001

Louisiana ramp off trafficway a no-go –- Task force agrees neighborhood is too congested

September 21, 2001


"If Louisiana has an access off of the new trafficway, I think we are going to create a lot of concerns, and rightly so, from the neighborhood along Louisiana," said John Haase, a planning commissioner and task force member.

Members of the Indian Hills Neighborhood Assn. frequently have told city officials they fear completion of the trafficway, and new development that might come with it, would create major congestion along Louisiana Street.

If completed, the trafficway would connect Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence with Interstate 70 northwest of Lawrence. The western 9 miles of the road are finished and open, but the eastern third remains only in the planning stage.

Douglas County commissioner and task force member Bob Johnson said he would like task force members to consider whether an interchange slightly west of Louisiana Street is necessary to help relieve growing congestion near 31st and Iowa streets.

Johnson said the group should look at a possible interchange where Ousdahl Road would connect with a trafficway if the bypass follows a 32nd Street route. Or, he said, city commissioners could consider expanding Naismith Drive southward to connect with the trafficway.

But other members said an interchange that close to Louisiana Street still might create traffic problems for the Indian Hills neighborhood.

Task force members were in greater agreement on interchanges east of Louisiana Street. They unanimously agreed one new interchange should be at Haskell Avenue, while a second should be designed to serve a growing industrial area east of town near the Douglas County Jail.

"Haskell is a road that could much better handle that type of traffic than Louisiana Street," said Michael Young, a transportation planner with the city. "It's a wider road and better designed for those levels of traffic."

Task force members were uncertain of exactly where an interchange should be located to serve the East Hills Business Park and the developing Franklin Business Park, but they suggested strong consideration be given to extending Franklin Road southward to connect with the trafficway.

The group couldn't agree on whether the trafficway should be completed north or south of the Wakarusa River. Members had another lengthy discussion about the impacts of a proposed land-use map for 2025 that forecasts large tracts of housing south of the river.

Lawrence city commissioners at a study session Wednesday directed staff members and engineering consultants to begin studying what infrastructure improvements will be needed to expand the city limits south of the river, making such a forecast possible.

"We told our engineers that this is probably where we are going to grow in the future, if they can figure out a way for us to sewer it," said Marty Kennedy, a city commissioner and task force member.

Some task force members have said anticipated growth south of the river is a good reason to consider recommending that the trafficway be built south of the river

But others members say they still support a north-of-the-river route because it would do the most to relieve traffic congestion on other city streets.

The task force aims to present a recommended trafficway route to planning commissioners by early October.

-- Staff writer Chad Lawhorn can be reached at 832-7190.

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