After two full years attending Free State High School, senior Lexie Schmidt, 18, has learned the ins and outs of the traffic situation.
"It usually takes about 20 minutes to get onto the road when I leave school," she said. "It's always been like that."
But she and other students agreed Tuesday that construction along West Sixth Street might be lengthening the time it takes to leave school grounds.
Complaints are mounting regarding the time it takes to exit Free State. Many said construction along West Sixth Street has caused 30- to 45-minute waits to get out of the parking lot after school.
"It seems like there could have been a better way to do this," said Merlyn Brown, who was picking up his son, Spencer, from school on Tuesday. "There's a lot of traffic delays because of the construction. I suppose that's the price of progress. But I think once they finish the project, the delays won't be as extreme."
People enter and exit Free State, 4700 Overland Drive, by way of Folks Road or Wakarusa Drive.
Construction along Sixth Street - or U.S. Highway 40 - stretches from Folks Road to the South Lawrence Trafficway. When completed, the road will be a four-lane divided street.
Leaders at the high school, the city of Lawrence and the Kansas Department of Transportation said they weren't aware of complaints or concerns about the problem.
"Any time you have 600 or 700 cars leaving at the same time, you're going to have to wait some length of time," Free State associate principal Ted Berard said. "It's no different than leaving a (Kansas City) Chiefs game. You can try and avoid the traffic by leaving later. But there are only so many ways in and out."
Students said one reason it took so long to get onto the road was because traffic backed up along Overland Drive, making it difficult to pull out of the parking lot. That happens in part because people are turning south onto Folks Road, and there is a traffic light at the intersection of Folks Road and Sixth Street.
Kansas Department of Transportation workers have been monitoring roads and intersections to keep traffic flowing.
"But just for a little bit at the end of school, there could be some back-ups," KDOT spokeswoman Kim Stich said. "Knowing that information, we recommend people take that into account when they are driving."
Stich said West Sixth Street should completely reopen to traffic in November, weather permitting.