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Archive for Thursday, December 14, 2006

SLT open house draws crowd

Testimony will help decide trafficway’s future

December 14, 2006

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SLT Meeting

Residents who attended the South Lawrence Trafficway open house give their thoughts on the proposals. Enlarge video

The latest step in the long and controversial efforts to build the final leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway is taking place today.

Federal regulators until 7 p.m. today are hosting an open house and taking public comments on what route should be selected for the eastern leg of the project, which is designed to connect the Kansas Turnpike west of Lawrence with Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence. The open house is being held at the Kansas National Guard Armory, 200 Iowa.

The event, which started at 10 a.m., had attracted about 40 people by noon to look at a variety of placards and to ask questions of state and federal transportation officials. Most of the information is centered around the two route options that the Federal Highway Administration have determined are the most feasible: a 32nd Street route that would run the road through the Baker Wetlands; and a 42nd Street route that would avoid the wetlands by building the road south of the Wakarusa River.

Supporters of both route options were on hand this morning, in addition to people who really weren't sure yet what to think.

"I'm just seeking more details so I can get an informed opinion," said Lawrence resident Jeff Anderson, who said he was most concerned about selecting a route that did the least to impose on the environment and historical sites.

Land owners Mike Koehler and his son Dan Koehler talk to KDOT representative Kris Norton during the South Lawrence Trafficway open house held at the National Guard Armory. The Koehlers favor the 32nd Street route. They own 6.5 acres south of the Wakarusa.

Land owners Mike Koehler and his son Dan Koehler talk to KDOT representative Kris Norton during the South Lawrence Trafficway open house held at the National Guard Armory. The Koehlers favor the 32nd Street route. They own 6.5 acres south of the Wakarusa.

Imposing on the environment and the environment have been frequent concerns of opponents of the Baker Wetlands route, which would go through ground that is historically linked to Haskell Indian Nations University.

But supporters of that route have contended that the large amount of mitigation - including the creation of approximately 300 acres of new wetlands, woodlands and tall grass prairie - make it the best environmental option.

"It does surprise me to see the amount of mitigation that they are proposing," Anderson said. "It is good to see the details."

Others, though, were there to make comments in opposition to the 42nd Street route. The open house features a station that allows people to submit written comments, and there also is a stenographer on hand for people who want to deliver written comments in that manner.

"I'm still sticking with my original feelings, and that is that the 42nd Street route is better," said Saunny Scott, a Lawrence resident. "I think it is a better route because we need to be looking long range.

"And as a community, I think we really need to show more respect for Native Americans, and their land and their history."

People have until Jan. 5 to submit comments to the Federal Highway Administration. People can send written comments to: Wendall L. Meyer, assistant division administrator, Federal Highway Administration Kansas Division Office, 6111 S.W. 29th St., Topeka 66614.

A final decision on the route is expected to be made by federal regulators in June or July, Meyer said.

Comments

doc1 8 years ago

What historical location? The majority of the wetlands that are there now are man made. And how is that land linked to Haskell. It sure as heck didn't have anything to do with the land they want to build on. Just build the darn road its making this place look incompetent.

spammer89 8 years ago

I agree Build it and they will come. (sorry could not )

b_asinbeer 8 years ago

doc1--I agree...just build the darn road...south of the river. Really, what's so hard to build a road just a little bit down the road?

conservative 8 years ago

b_asinbeer,

Many object to moving it "just a little bit down the road" because of the extra 14 million or so that it adds to the pricetag.

white_mountain 8 years ago

I tried warning you people about paving over the burial grounds of the ancestors, but no one listened.

Well, now looks like you will just have to put your road somewhere else.

frank mcguinness 8 years ago

Hey folks don't stress where the road will be placed I'm sure we'll all agree on it, about 10-15 years from now when it takes 2 hours to cross lawrence.

hipper_than_hip 8 years ago

White Mountain: what burial grounds are you talking about? The archeologists didn't find any evidence of graves.

trinity 8 years ago

is it just me or does anybody else recognize the fact that muuuuch much much construction, homes, businesses, roads, etc-DOES in fact sit on land once inhabited by Native Americans??? and they're all sideways over an ol' manmade swamp??

ok. whatevs.

average 8 years ago

If the SLT gets finished, I'm interested in how much inter-state truck traffic will get diverted through Lawrence and onto K-10. It should increase a lot, particularly once Interstate 49 (roughly an improved US-71 from KC to Fort Smith, Shreveport, and N. Orleans) is finished. Sure will make K-10 a far less pleasant commute.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Keeping it out of the wetlands and/or flood plain should keep the cost down according to what HNTB told me. Would not need to elevate the roads and likely would require fewer bridges.

A south-of-the-river route would join County Road 1057 and Kansas Highway 10 to carry traffic north to Interstate 70 by way of I-70 connectors meeting a Tonganoxie turnpike interchange. This concept accomplishes many things. It services: ¢ Johnson and Douglas counties' traffic going to northwest Lawrence or Topeka. ¢ the Eudora Business Park east of 1057. ¢ East Hills Business Park and the southeast Lawrence industrial park. ¢ the Lawrence airport. And it: ¢ diverts traffic around the city. ¢ keeps the SLT out of the wetlands. ¢ reduces congestion for morning and afternoon commuters. ¢ might save Douglas County taxpayers millions of dollars. ¢ is prudent use of tax dollars. ¢ eliminates the need for an eastern bypass.

conservative 8 years ago

average, the traffic is already here, and will get worse as the 4 lane 59 highway is completed. Question is if we'll finish the SLT in time to avoid all those trucks coming down 23rd street.

If K-10 becomes too congested they'll widen it to 6 lanes. Check the bridges most if not all were built wide enough for 3 lanes in each direction.

salad 8 years ago

I have enjoyed watching the indians FINALLY getting to stick it to the white man!

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

" I have enjoyed watching the indians FINALLY getting to stick it to the white man! "

revenge simply continues a distructive cycle. you display one good reason to build at 32nd: many opposing 32nd are simply seeking revenge for past wrongs. not good. revenge never really solves anything and may lead to worse treatment later as a backlash happens because of the irrationality of demanding such revenge...over building a road FGS!

this community needs this SLT like the Kickapoo res needs the water supplied by a reservoir!

KUDB99 8 years ago

How is it that the people who live in the community have less of an opinion that people who come to school here for 2 years? The student body at Haskell, just as at KU, is largely transient. While a percentage stays in Lawrence, the vast majority move out for jobs or go back home. How is it that they hold sway over the majority of the people that live here permanently.

Now, everyone talks about the historical wetlands. We used to play baseball and football on the wetlands. They are so historical, that they weren't always wet! Now, most of the wetlands will not be touched, and the part of the wetlands that will be touched will be relocated. It'll actually gain in acreage.

Don't get me wrong, I'm as green as they come. But putting a road through the wetlands couldn't have any more environmental impact than the ever increasing number of vehicles idling at stop lights on 23rd street. If the 32nd st path is the quickest way to get this project completed, then I'm all for it, if the 42nd st path gets it built faster, I'm all for that one!

Just build the darn thing!

white_mountain 8 years ago

No one forced you to move to Lawrence.. if you don't like it then MOVE.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Don't get me wrong, I'm as green as they come. "

If you were truly "green," then you would be against building any road of any sort, and it's clear that you have very little respect for Indians.

average 8 years ago

If (as looks likely), the Tongie exit on the Turnpike gets done before ground is ever broken on the SLT, it (via Eudora and LV-1) will be a defacto I-70 connector, whether Eudora wants it or whether the bridge is ready for the traffic. Enough people will be using it to need a better bridge, bypass downtown Eudora, and a bridge over the UP tracks. The "connector" will happen.

Charles L Bloss Jr 8 years ago

I don't care where you build the damn road, just build it! Thank you, Lynn

budwhysir 8 years ago

If the SLT was to end in the middle of a river I would not care. This project has taken the road to no place.

Lets go ahead and raise taxes on our water distribution systems and add some extra taxes to funding telephone poles ( as proposed by the grass roots organization that has been quoted speaking from the lawrence area)

Come on people with 32.785% of travelers ending up on dead end country roads looking for this darn SLT we need to wrap it up.

Kelly Powell 8 years ago

Even people who are "green" understand that their comfortable little world would collapse without our modern day logistics supply line(allso known as roads).....Go live in a yurt for a year out in the middle of nowhere then come back and you can bitch at people for not being green enough bozo.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

32.785%? 0.005%, just how much of a single motorist does that fraction represent?

jonas 8 years ago

Man, just let 'em build the damn thing already! The only stipulation I ask is to come back here and laugh 4 years after it's built and the traffic is once again "bad."

"bad"

aaaahahahahahaha

budwhysir 8 years ago

bearded_gnome:

My figures take into account those that are not actualy lost but, simply forgot to listen to thier wife while driving. The .005% also takes into account those that are too busy talking on cell phones or reading books while driving to realize they are lost.

PapaB 8 years ago

Build the 32nd St SLT. It makes like easier for me. If we really look at the purpose of roads, isn't it to make life easier for us all? ...And I feel the 32nd St route would make life easier for more people than the other route, manmade swamp is irrelevant.

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