Archive for Saturday, February 25, 2006

New turnpike interchange gets go-ahead

Decision ‘lousy’ for Lawrence, Schauner says

February 25, 2006


The Kansas Turnpike Authority has agreed to build a new interchange about eight miles east of Lawrence between Tonganoxie and Eudora.

The news delighted officials in Leavenworth County but drew concern from some in Lawrence.

"I think it is a lousy decision for Lawrence," Lawrence City Commissioner David Schauner said. "It will hurt our long-term growth prospects. I think it is great for Johnson County but not good for Lawrence."

Schauner said he had hoped the turnpike authority would place an interchange closer to Lawrence that could be a terminus for an eastern bypass project to help move Lawrence traffic around the outskirts of the city.

Turnpike leaders announced Friday that a financial analysis had shown a new $3 million interchange about three miles south of Tonganoxie would be financially feasible. The project also will include about $8 million worth of improvements to Leavenworth County 1, a linking route to the interchange, that will be funded by a Leavenworth County sales tax.

Tonganoxie leaders hailed the news.

"I'm pretty overwhelmed with the decision," said Michael Yanez, Tonganoxie's city administrator. "I'm looking forward to what happens next. I think a lot has been on hold in terms of economic development until this decision is made.

"This really is going to fuel a lot of new growth in our area."

Turnpike leaders have estimated the interchange could be operational in three years.

The proposed location - about eight miles east and north of Lawrence - also is creating traffic questions for Eudora. Leavenworth County 1 continues south of the turnpike and eventually becomes Douglas County Route 1061, which goes through downtown Eudora.

The turnpike authority doesn't have estimates of how many motorists might use the new interchange to go south through Eudora to connect to Kansas Highway 10, but it is expected to be a sizable number.

"It is going to be a great thing," said Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle. "It will bring more traffic, but that isn't all bad."

Pyle said more motorists could provide a boost to businesses such as gas stations, restaurants and retail shops. He also said the new convenient turnpike access could spur more housing and business growth for Eudora.

But Pyle said the thought of hundreds of trucks going through downtown Eudora was a concern. He said that's why planning needs to begin now on a new road to run traffic along the edge of Eudora, preferably to the west.

A new road, though, likely would require a new Kansas River bridge, which would cost tens of millions of dollars. The project would create a lot of "interesting questions" about who should pay for it, Douglas County Commissioner Charles Jones said.

"But I think there will be an enormous amount of pressure to do it," Jones said.

There also has been speculation Johnson County leaders may push to have a road built east of Eudora crossing the river near De Soto and providing access for development at the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.


Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

The 1057 K-10 interchange just east of Eudora would be a smart choice for connecting K-10 to the Tonganoxie I 70 interchange.

This would provide service for Topeka, JOCO and Douglas County and divert much traffic around Lawrence. Drivers will be able to enter/exit at all 3 Lawrence/LeCompton interchanges. All that is required is a bridge crossing the river which is a project that will happen sooner or later. Why not sooner? Leavenworth,Douglas, JOCO and Jefferson could split the cost as all would benefit.

The one major negative to this plan is a farm that's been in the family for about 100 years. Developers should pay at least $1 million for this property.

Steve Jacob 12 years, 2 months ago

Not getting it closer to Lawrence really going to hurt us? Not really, and it will really help Tonganoxie and Eudora.

mcoan 12 years, 2 months ago

More sprawl, and more losses of some of the best farmland in America. Par for the course. But we MUST continue our march towards Megopolis, a gigantic, unplanned, sprawling city stretching from KCMO to Topeka.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 2 months ago

"I think it is a lousy decision for Lawrence," Lawrence City Commissioner David Schauner said. "It will hurt our long-term growth prospects. I think it is great for Johnson County but not good for Lawrence."

The KTA agreed to expand the turnpike to three lanes each way from the Lecompton interchange to Topeka to handle the increased traffic; what is that, chopped kibble?

The KTA is in the business of making money, and they aren't going to sit on their hands forever while waiting for Lawrence to get the SLT finished. Perhaps this new interchange will light a fire under the commission to quit messing around and get some business done.

Marion wrote: You have a dangerously empowered City Manager.

Wilgen is a kitten compared to his deputy, Debbie Van Saun. We'll all be wishing for Mike to come back after Debbie gets her hands on the reins.

dthroat 12 years, 2 months ago

Think maybe the KTA knows that nothing like this would get done in/around Lawrence without years of lawsuits and protests. And how was it supposed to connect to the by-pass when we can't even get it done.

laughingatallofu 12 years, 2 months ago

Hey Marion(i),

Since when did you get the Olympic spirit? (Turin--->Turino). If I were you, I'd stop smoking those cancer butts that you stick between your lips. But I'm not you, so I doubt that it'll do much good. Just don't throw one of those things out of the window while you're driving. Or if you do, extinguish it in your coffee. Your mouth won't know the difference anyhow. There's a fire hazard out there. OK?

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 2 months ago

I can't believe tht no one has brought this up.

Make the new interchange a roundabout!

tpatric 12 years, 2 months ago

"It will hurt our long-term growth prospects".

And this is a bad thing because...?

tpatric 12 years, 2 months ago

Marion, sometimes you make some very valid, intelligent observations, but then you do a rant that negates those observations. Go have a smoke.

pt 12 years, 2 months ago

Of course the Eudora Mayor is all for it...he owns a beef jerky business right in downtown Eudora...he stands to gain substantially from this traffic increase. Nevermind the fact the school buses and tons of housing will be threatened by such an increase. Eudora was never built for heavy traffic, and unless they are willing to majorily revamp the Eudoran rodes I can't see it as anything other than a disaster area.

topflight 12 years, 2 months ago

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