The Kansas Highway 10 of the future could have six to eight lanes, a 100-foot landscaped buffer on either side, bus service between Lawrence and Kansas City, and a pedestrian or bicycle trail along the sides.
That's the vision contained in a $450,000 study released Monday by the Kansas Department of Transportation. The study, undertaken late last year, aimed to identify needed improvements along the increasingly busy highway.
"We just see that corridor really urbanizing," said Maggie Thompson, a public involvement liaison for KDOT.
Just because something is included in the plan doesn't mean it will happen. It will be up to community leaders to work with KDOT and decide which projects actually get money.
Among the report's main findings:
¢ There should be more study of an interchange - a grade-separated exit with merging lanes - at Franklin Road on Lawrence's eastern edge. That's important to Lawrence, city manager Mike Wildgen said, because of the anticipated development of agricultural land southeast of K-10 and O'Connell Road.
"The more traffic goes up, you're going to have more trouble getting left turns in and out of those areas," he said
The question of whether the undeveloped land is used primarily for housing or for business came up at Tuesday's city commission meeting.
The plan also calls for the closure of the entrance to the East Hills Business Park - a site of repeat accidents in recent years - assuming improvements are made at the Franklin Road intersection.
¢ In Douglas County, the road should widen to six lanes, but it won't be necessary until 2030. The report recommends a faster timetable for widening Johnson County's stretch of the road and for the area east of Kansas Highway 7.
The road could widen one of two ways, the report says: by going to the inside and using a concrete safety barrier similar to what's seen on Interstate 70, or by widening to the outside, which could encroach on private property.
¢ Widening the road must be done with attention to "environmentally sensitive areas," including wetlands, flood plains, parks and hazardous-material sites.
The report does not, however, make any recommendations about the proposed South Lawrence Trafficway, which now ends south of Lawrence at U.S. Highway 59 and doesn't connect to K-10. But the report assumes there will eventually be a "highway to highway" connection that goes around Lawrence - either a connection to the trafficway or to I-70 to the north.
¢ There should be a 100-foot buffer at the side of the road to minimize noise between the highway and future developments and to provide space for a possible pedestrian and bicycle trail.
¢ There should be further study of the idea of bus service along K-10, which the report says could be used daily by up to 500 students and commuters. The report recommends starting a pilot program.
A copy of the report is available at www.ksdot.org/projects.asp. For information on getting the report in an alternative format, contact the Bureau of Transportation Information, 700 SW Harrison St., 2nd Fl West, Topeka KS 66603-3754 or phone at (785) 296-3585 (Voice) (TTY).