Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2006

KDOT eager to complete trafficway

Funding remains sticking point; federal review opens new doors

March 30, 2006


Despite objections from a majority of city commissioners, state leaders remain committed to building the eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway, the long-delayed road meant to connect the city's growing west and east sides to Kansas Highway 10 and Johnson County.

"If we had the funds, we would begin construction immediately," Sally Howard, the chief counsel for the Kansas Department of Transportation, told city and county commissioners Wednesday morning.

Howard said the 32nd Street alignment is the state's No. 1 choice because it has received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after a lengthy review process.

She said the fact that city commissioners - on a 3-2 split - agreed in January to adopt a city goal to lobby for a route south of the Wakarusa River had not changed the department's mind.

She flatly rejected a comment by Mayor Boog Highberger who suggested KDOT wasn't willing to "stick its neck out" to find funding for the project unless a more complete community consensus could be reached on a route.

"That's not what I said," Howard said. "We are not just going to sit back and wait until we have consensus. If we do that, we might as well not go forward at all."

But finding funding for the road remains a problem. KDOT leaders pegged the estimated cost to complete the road at "$110 million and growing." Howard said the project would be a candidate to receive funding as a part of any comprehensive transportation program the Legislature may pass in future years. But she also said it was likely that federal highway dollars would be needed, too.

Any road project that receives federal funding must receive approval from the Federal Highway Administration. Because the project recently received a special $1.5 million congressional appropriation late last year, that approval process will begin in the next month or two, Howard said.

The process includes an official public comment period where anybody can make comments about the proposed route. That would open the door for the City Commission and the Planning Commission to submit comments opposing a 32nd Street route. The County Commission likely would submit comments maintaining its support for the 32nd Street route.

Federal highway leaders must use their review to determine if there are "feasible and prudent" alternatives to running through the Baker Wetlands. Howard said that review is expected to take at least a year.

The need for Federal Highway Administration approval is new because state leaders had earlier planned to use only state dollars, but as project costs grow that strategy seems less likely, Howard said.

Opponents of a wetlands route may find the Federal Highway's re-entry into the process encouraging. That's because the Federal Highway Administration in the 1990s refused to approve a wetlands route for the road.

"It possibly could be a positive development," said City Commissioner Mike Rundle, who along with Highberger and Commissioner David Schauner have said the road would create too much damage to the Baker Wetlands and is not in the right spot to best serve the community's expected southward growth.

But supporters of the wetlands route said today's situation is different than when the Federal Highway Administration was reviewing the project in the 1990s. Unlike in the '90s, the agency now has a fellow federal agency - the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - that has approved the route. Also, in the 1990s the Federal Highway Administration was reviewing a 31st Street route for the project. That route would have crossed Haskell Indian Nations University property. Haskell opposed that route. The route now under consideration would be built on property owned by Baker University, which supports the project.

Douglas County Commissioner Bob Johnson, a supporter of the wetlands route, said he didn't think Federal Highway Administration leaders would go against the Corps of Engineers' decision simply because Lawrence government leaders aren't unanimous on where the road should be built. He said such a split frequently happens in other communities.

"With any road project you have people who register their support or register their opposition," Johnson said. "They make their comments and go on. What's different here is that usually a decision is made and people go on with their lives. Here, some people have chosen not to go on with their lives."

Highberger said he would continue to push for a new route that would please people on both sides of the issue. He said he was encouraged by Howard's comments that KDOT would consider an alternative route if there was "evidence of a broad consensus." But Howard also quickly pointed out that she hadn't seen that evidence.

Highberger conceded consensus may not yet be evident, but said he believed it is growing.

"I think the majority of people I talk to just want something built that will carry traffic along the southern edge of town," Highberger said. "I don't think the majority of them care where the road will be as long as it meets the needs. That's what's changed. I think this is a historic opening that we have."

If a 32nd Street route is ultimately approved by the Federal Highway Administration, Howard said she could envision scenarios where construction on the road could begin this decade. But because KDOT doesn't have control over the funding, Howard said timing was difficult to predict.

South Lawrence Trafficway timeline

1930 Hare and Hare Landscape, of Kansas City, Mo., produces a "Major Thoroughfare Plan" for the Lawrence Planning Commission. The resulting map shows an early concept of a "boulevard" looping south around the city along 20th Street. 1964-74 A study by the State Highway Commission and Federal Highway Administration declares the need for relief for traffic congestion on 23rd and Iowa streets. 1971 The Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs grants Douglas County a 24-acre easement on Haskell Indian Nations University land for construction of 31st Street. Years later, engineers would decide to use the easement for the trafficway. 1985 County Commissioners announce consideration of a $3.5 million bond issue for a southern trafficway connecting Kansas Highway 10 to the east and the Kansas Turnpike to the northwest. 1986 ¢ A preliminary environmental impact statement reports the trafficway can be built with minimal harm to the Baker Wetlands and Elkins Prairie. ¢ Agnes T. Frog, created by trafficway opponents to draw attention to wetlands environmental issues, receives almost 30 percent of the vote as a write-in candidate for county commission. 1987-89 Leslie W. Blevins Sr. files suit in district court to prevent release of county trafficway money until a vote on the bond issue. After his plea for an injunction is denied at district and appellate courts, Blevins appeals to the Kansas Supreme Court. 1989 December - The Kansas Supreme Court rules the county commission exceeded its power by issuing $4 million in bonds. City and county officials get the court to reconsider but agree to put the bond issue on a ballot anyway. 1990 July - The high court reverses its ruling, saying the 1985 bond issue was legal. November - County residents vote 13,679 to 10,815, supporting $4 million in bonds for the trafficway. Three Douglas County residents sue alleging the explanation on the ballot unfairly influenced voters. The Elkins Prairie, an 80-acre patch of virgin prairie, is plowed by its owner, apparently an attempt to force a decision on a county purchase of the property. 1990-92 Douglas County District Judge Mike Malone dismisses the suit. The decision is appealed in early 1991. The appeals court reverses Malone's decision in October 1991, and the suit goes to the Kansas Supreme Court, which rules 6-0 on July 10, 1992, in favor of the county. 1992 December - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sends out public notices for comments about plans to mitigate the 31st Street wetlands in the path of the trafficway. Douglas County fails to include Haskell on the mailing list. Four individuals and a few agencies respond by the Jan. 18 deadline. The Corps approves the permit without further public hearings. 1993 February - A citizens group files suit in U.S. District Court against the Federal Highway Administration and Environmental Protection Agency for approving the trafficway's environmental impact statement. The plaintiffs allege the statement failed to consider a route south of the Wakarusa River. A federal judge later rules the study sufficiently considered impacts on the wetlands. 1994 April - Pressured by the U.S. Justice Department and other agencies, the Douglas County Commission orders a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS). August - Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has a groundbreaking for the western 9 miles of the trafficway. 1995 October - A 900-page draft of the SEIS is released. November - Kansas Natural Resource Council and two Haskell Indian Nations University students sue to force planners to alter the format of a public hearing scheduled on the SEIS. A federal judge denies the request, and the public hearing is attended by 633 people. 1996 November - The western 9 miles of the SLT opens to traffic. December - The Douglas County Commission endorses the 31st Street alignment. A Federal Highway Administration official makes public his agency's intent to withdraw, ending most federal environmental oversight and work on the SEIS, if the state and county agree to request no more federal funding for the road. 1997 March-July - American Indians and environmentalists sue to force completion of the SEIS. A U.S. District Judge issues an injunction halting work on the project until the impact statement is complete. July-December - The Army Corps of Engineers begins the review for a Section 404 permit, focusing largely on noise and visual impacts to Haskell. The Corps suggests it may require additional buffering for the 31st Street area, including trees and a noise wall. December - Haskell announces it will do its own noise mitigation study. 1998 In response to a lawsuit by American Indians and environmentalists, a federal judge halts work on the project until the impact statement is complete. 1999 February - Douglas County commissioners vote to spend $137,497 from about $10 million still set aside for the trafficway to complete the SEIS. May - The Haskell board of regents votes to "totally oppose" the trafficway's construction along 31st Street. June - A mitigation package valued at $5 million and offered to Haskell to gain university support for the trafficway is made public. October - Presentations by county, state and federal officials fail to sway Haskell regents, who again vote to oppose the trafficway along 31st Street. 2000 March - The final SEIS is released. The 5-inch-thick document includes the words "No Build" as the preferred alternative. Observers declare the project dead. 2001 April - KDOT Chief Counsel Mike Rees makes public his efforts to win support for a 32nd Street route that would move the project off Haskell property. October - The Lawrence Douglas County Planning Commission agrees to recommend a 32nd Street route. Haskell and federal officials issue a letter saying 31st Street should be vacated, the wetlands preserved and the trafficway built south of the Wakarusa River. 2002 January - Baker University and Kansas Department of Transportation officials tentatively agree to an $8.5 million package that would allow the South Lawrence Trafficway to be built through the university's wetlands. September - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers holds a public meeting soliciting input on the SLT route. More than 700 people attend. 2003 August - KDOT officials say the state has no money to complete the SLT. December - The Corps of Engineers says it prefers 32nd Street for the SLT over the 42nd Street alignment favored by wetlands preservationists. KDOT officials say they won't rule out beginning wetland mitigation immediately. 2004 January - KDOT announces it stopped buying land for the SLT, in anticipation of a lawsuit. March - The Corps of Engineers issues a permit for KDOT to complete the SLT along the 32nd Street alignment. 2005 November - Sen. Pat Roberts successfully pushes for a special $1.5 million congressional appropriation to get the SLT moving again. 2006 January - City commissioners agree to start lobbying for a south-of-the-Wakarusa River route for the trafficway. March - KDOT leaders say despite the city's lobbying, it is still committed to a 32nd Street route.


Linda Aikins 12 years, 1 month ago

It could also possibly go right by or through the new wastewater treatment plant!

Maybe they could camouflage the digesters by making them look like off ramps...

neopolss 12 years, 1 month ago

Let's not forget that 31st street shouldn't even be around, if it wasn't for those slimy BIA bastards. And I thought my congressional representatives were screwing ME over.

LuHsien 12 years, 1 month ago

It just seems to me that you would want to preserve wetlands. It would seem to me that you would not want to turn land that has been set aside a greenspace into a traffic way. This is one of the only openspace wetlands where you don't have to pay a fee to be a naturalist. This is like putting a freeway through South Park. The least you could do would be to commit an area of equal or greater size along the river to wetlands restoration. I am beginning to believe Kansans have no concept of land stewardship.

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

from 1964 to now......isn't lawrence progressive? no wonder any outsider thinks lawrence is a difficult city to get anything done.

i think the consensus is we have a bunch of crackpots running the show.

come the next city commission election....please vote!

lawrence, kansas business UNfriendly


Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.

Baille 12 years, 1 month ago

MacHeath, it was originally wetland. Then it was drained for farming. Then it was returned to wetland. It is now used by Haskell as a biology classroom, and by the community as a nice place to take a walk.

It was also used as a burial ground for the Native Amrican children killed by an indifferent and uncaring federal government back when Haskell was an indoctrination camp.

I have a proposal. If we want to build the by-pass through the wetlands, then there can be no interchanges from Iowa through Haskell Avenue - or beyond. As soon as interchanges come in, it becomes just another commercial district, which is what the majority of 32nd Street backers really want.

neopolss 12 years, 1 month ago

I propose the rainbow skybridge through South Park. I'm sure the eagerness to build through the wetlands will extend into downtown right?

Wasn't most of the wetland area supposed to belong to Haskell anyway, before the whole (allegedly illegal) BIA signover?

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


Reg your comment:

"There is a mitigation plan included with the 32nd street route that actually expands the wetlands area. The opponents generally state that this would not be the same quality as the existing wetlands."

Quality is not the only issue. Eventhough our scientific knowledge has increased tremendously regarding wetland mitigation, there is still a real possibility that mitigation is not successful.

But more importantly, the wetlands are a major watershed area. Moving them may not preserve the function of the watershed. This may welll contribute to more flooding once that area is developed and then we may need to figure in additional needs for storm water run off and if anyone has been paying attention in the last 2 month you should know how big of a issue that is in Lawrence

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

And before the hard core proponents for building the road get started and blame soley the opposition for halting the project............

"If we had the funds, we would begin construction immediately," Sally Howard, the chief counsel for the Kansas Department of Transportation, told city and county commissioners Wednesday morning."

Maybe they do not have the funds for a reason. Maybe there is more oposition to this road in higher up places than you think.

Scott Drummond 12 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence was once a progressive place that placed value, as a community, on treasures such as the wetlands. Now that the hordes of Johnson County wannabes have infected the town it is small wonder that you have increasing pressure from the narrow minded folks that want to make their drive 2 minutes faster. There is, unfortunately, no contesting such human ignorance and stupidity. The only hope is to keep people that think like this out of your community. Lawrence lost that battle long ago. It will not be long and the wetlands will be paved just as the developers and speculators all want, then the box stores and yet more development will overtake the area, creating still more traffic congestion and eventually the need for more roads to "relieve" the traffic nightmare that has been created by this "solution." (Just as 15th Street and 23rd Street created greater, and greater traffic demands even though they too were once the outerlying way to avoid the "congestion" of the streets closer to the core of the city.)

No, the wetlands are doomed, just like the buffalo, the native prairie, any number of endangered species and all the rest of God's creation that gets ruined by the soiled hand of man. Tis a pity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

The entire area is a natural wetlands area, part of what had once been 17,000 acres of wetlands along the Wakarusa. Much of it was drained for farmland, including the Haskell wetlands. The Haskell wetlands have been restored to their original state over the last few decades.

craigers 12 years, 1 month ago

Build the road and let's get on with it. We could play the ifs and buts game all day long and according to the timeline it looks like we have.

gccs14r 12 years, 1 month ago

If KDOT tries to force its way through, it may be time for a bit of civil disobedience.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

I posted this late to yesterdays story about this.

This is just to try to cut off the comments about how wetlands are just a piece of worthless swamp and public health risk.

A healty wetlands is not a health risk. In fact a functioning wetlands has many more benefits to the community than you would think.

Even our CURRNET ADMINISTRATION knows and accepts this. Why else would they have authorized and implemented "The 30-year, $8 billion Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is being funded, managed and implemented through an unprecedented 50-50 partnership between the state and federal governments."

excerpt from

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

gccs14r, kind of like the civil disobedience the lunatics unleashed on the first leg of the SLT when they destroyed tens of thousands of dollars worth of construction equipment?

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

It will still be years before anyone has to resort to civil disobedience.

This issue has not even gone to court (and lets hope it does not have to, for all of our tax dollars sake).

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

the voters spoke and voted FOR the SLT. the narrow minded minority either sues, or advocates destroying private property to get their way (reference gccs14r's comment).

we live in a democracy where the majority rules. the voters spoke at the ballot box. it's time to get the road built.

gccs14r 12 years, 1 month ago

Who's the lunatic? The person who seeks to preserve a healthy planet for future generations, or the person who seeks to pave anything asphalt will stick to?

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

This one is off the subject, but I just could not controll myself and NOT post this........

Is this a joke or is this for real pro-life?????

BBC story link:

Art gallery link:

cowboy 12 years, 1 month ago

If you remove the manmade burms the wetlands will naturally drain into the river , there is a lot of wetland area along the river on both north and south sides much of which is dry in the summertime.

what bothers me about this entire issue is the stubborness on both sides of this issue to fail to look past the items on the table .

If we chose to we could build a road that would not impact the wildlife at all with a slight elevation , rubberized roadway to keep the sound down , expansion of the current wetland area , a eco center for advanced studies by Hinu and KU , and it would avoid the dispacement of many families south of the river which no one seems to take into account.

I'll admit I could care less about this particular wetland as there are adjacent watersheds the wildlife could migrate to but there are a lot of options that could be explored that aren't due to the impasse.

gccs14r 12 years, 1 month ago

Civil disobedience does not mean destruction of private property, but it could mean denying access to the site by various means.

People need to remember who's trying to ram this down our throats come November. We have the City on the side of preservation, so now we need to do the same thing at the County and State levels.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

Anyone thinking that THE or A road will not be built is a delusionist.

The point is: Where is the best place for the raod. On 32nd that will be well within the city limits or 42nd where it will be a BYPASS around Lawrence.

And we do live in a democracy. The facts are: 1) the road has not been built, 2) KDOT does not have the money to build the road, 3) THis discussion in not holding up the road, lack of money is 4) Lets discuss this before construction begins 5) THIS IS A DEMOCRACY. Sally Howard said: "the fact that city commissioners - on a 3-2 split - agreed in January to adopt a city goal to lobby for a route south of the Wakarusa River"

DaREEKKU 12 years, 1 month ago

They should find an alternate route. Just because the voters chose to destroy the environment doesn't mean it's right.

chzypoof1 12 years, 1 month ago

DaREEKKU.....if we find an alternate route, just because the minority thinks it's better, that makes no sense. We live in a democracy. If the minority gets what they want, elections have no meaning. We would elect a president, and then people like you would say, "Well, just cause we voted for him, doesn't mean he gets to BE the president. We should find an alternative."

It was voted for, by the people. The MAJORITY of the people want it at the 32nd street route because it would be a shorter, more efficient route. Baker signed off on it. Just build it, and move the wetland.

Kathleen Christian 12 years, 1 month ago

I have a hard time believing there is no money to fund this project. Heck they've been planning to build this road through for how many years? You'd think they would have set the money aside to be prepared to build. Sounds like mis-management to me. However, we do need this because it would cut down on traffic through the town. But I agree the wetlands should be preserved. So go around it build a gigantic ROUND-A-BOUT Lawrence seems to be addicted to these things here of late.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


Of all the process you mention in your post only the "Farmland" was not a natural environment. The "Farmland" was not only a manmade environment, it was also forced upon a native population.


I beleive you get to the "krux" of the problem. The selfishness of human nature.

Eventhough I am a opponet of the 32nd alaingment, I do think much about the impact it will have on families S of the river. It still twists my stomach into a knot when I see the land lost and families uprooted due to the new 59.

But I also look at the impact the loss of the wetlands will have on the local community. There are many more aspects to the wetlands than just being habitat for wildlife.

Every proponet of the road must agree that there is a large group of the Lawrence popultion that values the wetlands where they are. And many of the opponets value "their" wetlands for various reasons.

I would venture to say that a majority of the proponets of the road do not really care where it is as long as it saves them minutes and headaces while driving on 23rd and 31st.

And I 100% agree with you that the 32nd alignment could be done with minimal impact on the wetlands, Haskell and the population of Lawrence. But such a venture (raised roads, noise barriers, run off plans) could all be solved with MONEY.

But that is one thing that no one has or is willing to spend.

So in the end, someone (many) will loose. But until then this will be debated and fought over until all reasonable avenues have been exhausted.

And the only real prediction anyone can make is that this will cost a lot of money and be many years into the future before this is settled.

Hope everyone has a great day. Mike

Baille 12 years, 1 month ago

"Build the road and let's get on with it. We could play the ifs and buts game all day long and according to the timeline it looks like we have."

Why should the default go to the business proponents? True conservatives would say default should go to stability and - conservation(?).

And LawrenceKSisGreat, we don't live in a democracy. We live in a representative democracy that has institutional procedures and protocols that respect and give weight to minority dissent. But I don't think those of us who don't want 31st and Louisiana to become the next South Lawrence commercial center are in the minority. We just don't have the same access to funding or the sympathetic ear of our corrupt political system to rely upon.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


Dont get me started on our political system. We have this system inplace because it was put in place by people with much power and foresight what would be good for them.

I think that this system is here to stay for a long time and unfortunatley, only a major upheavel would change that. I, for one, am not willing to pay that kind of price (civil war) to change it.

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Sir Winston Churchill

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

Sir Winston Churchill

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 12 years, 1 month ago

If you put it to a vote now between south of the Wakarusa or through the wetlands, the south route would win. We are not the minority. The minority are the few people who live where the road will go through and those who own the property around Haskell and 31st who want to build strip malls and gas stations. Lawrence is alreay jumping the Wakarusa, so build the road there.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

"The voters did not chose to destroy the environment. That was not on the ballot."

I think most people in favor of building an eastern leg to the SLT couldn't care less which route it takes. Of those who are opposed to completing it anywhere, going south of the river is preferred over going through the wetlands. So it would seem to me that those who want it along the 32nd St. route are in the minority.

If you have any interest in how corrupt city and county government have been in the past, and how the hubris and greed of those involved created this nightmare, read these two articles:

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 1 month ago

If you want to save the wetlands, go back to the original 31st St alignment using the existing right of way.

Once upon a time, Haskell wanted to train it's students in modern agricultural practices. Baker provided Haskell with the wetlands, it was transformed into farmland, and a US Dept of Agriculture model farm was built to teach the students, and to showcase modern agricultural practices to the area farmers. At some later time, Haskell decided that the farming program would be dropped, and Baker took the land back, and it's slowly reverted into it's current state of swamp.

Does anyone remember that after the 31st St alignment was announced, the Haskell student body rapidly constructed the prayer circle within sight of 31st street, and then claimed that construction of the SLT would desecrate their holy site?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

"Baker provided Haskell with the wetlands, it was transformed into farmland, and a US Dept of Agriculture model farm was built to teach the students, and to showcase modern agricultural practices to the area farmers."

That's the first I've ever heard of that, and I think you're completely wrong. Baker has never transferred any land to Haskell.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

"Does anyone remember that after the 31st St alignment was announced, the Haskell student body rapidly constructed the prayer circle within sight of 31st street, and then claimed that construction of the SLT would desecrate their holy site?"

The Indians at Haskell have been using the wetlands for spiritual practice and refuge since the school's inception in 1884. The medicine wheel is just the latest example of that long tradition.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


I assume you are beeing sarcastic.

Not that those two are my favorite people (bush-dick or dick-bush) but there are a many more influential people, closer to lawrence, that had their hands in the SLT proccess.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 1 month ago

Talk to some old-timers Bozo, and they'll set you straight on the Baker/Haskell relationship. Call Bobbi Rader (the historian at Haskell), and she can enlighten you about the agriculture program at Haskell.

The prayer wheel didn't exist before the 31st St alignment was announced.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 1 month ago

Bozo: check out the aerial photograph collection at the Douglas County Public Works office (13th & Mass) for evidence of the prayer wheel. They have aerials of our fair county that date from the mid 1930's until now. The aerials have been re-flown every four years or so, so they are a very nice reference to the changes in our area over the past 70 years or so.

boatman8325 12 years, 1 month ago

Forget all the talk about SLT. I say we close down I-70 and go back to the good all days of horse and buggy. Come on folks, lets get real. I don't care if it is 31st, 33rd 43rd 51st....just build it already. This town as been fighting about this same issue for over 60 years.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

well RonBurgandy

Your comment settles it. I am sure that with your lates post it will settle the issue and building will start immediatley.

Pay attention! KDOT wants federal money. Before the Federal Highway Administration gives KDOT their money, they have to, by law, open up a public comment period.

Opponents are not really holding up the project. Our Federal, State and Local governmetns bureaucracy is still in progess and before this proccess is completed, nothing will be built.

In the end it will be built. No need to argue about that anymore. Just as human population numbers will increase so will the number of roads. But lets be rational about this and really look at the long term picture. What is really best for Lawrence. A major road on 32nd now and in 10-15 years another major road on 42nd and in 50 years one on 52nd and 62nd and ....all the way to Ottowa ....


an improved road on 31st with less traffic than on 32nd (and without destroying the wetlands) and a major road (a real BYPASS, at least for the next 15-20 years) on 42nd.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

There's no doubt that the agricultural program, though short-lived failure, existed. But Baker transferred no lands to Haskell for that purpose, or for any other purpose I've ever heard of.

And while the particular medicine wheel wasn't there in 1930, that doesn't mean that the wetlands haven't been of spiritual and cultural importance to Haskell for its entire history. I don't doubt that underscoring that history was part of the reason for the construction of the medicine wheel.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


I thought macon was just trying to be sarcastic, but maybe not.

but, gradstudent_phd, I cant accept "ding danged commie liberals"

I can accept you calling me a "ding danged liberal"

or even a "ding danged socialist liberal" but commie is just to much of a "authoritarian minded" label that I would certainly not put on a liberal.

I wonder who a "authoritarian minded" label like that would better describe?

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 1 month ago

Bozo: I wrote that Baker provided Haskell with the land, not transfered, deeded, or sold the land to Haskell. The land was, for the lack of a better word, "loaned" to Haskell for the express purpose of teaching agriculture.

You will recall that the Methodists were big into helping Native Americans, and Baker has always had a connection with Haskell. This is witnessed today by Baker allowing Haskell to use the wetlands as a biology classroom.

Baker made it clear that the land would only be used for agriculture, and that if Haskell dropped the agriculture program, Haskell would have to "give it back" to Baker. Once again, there was no offical transfer of property.

I have no doubt that there are the bodies of Native Americans buried in the wetlands, as this area has been populated by native peoples for thousands of years. Several Native American bodies were found during the construction of Clinton Lake, but this did not stop the Corps of Engineers from building the lake. I am personally unaware that any burials have been located, or bodies exhumed, from the wetlands. There is no certainty that the construction will or will not disturb any bodies that lie in that area. Is the fact that unmarked graves lie within the wetlands enough to prohibit road constuction there? Perhaps the plowing of the wetlands by Haskell itself during it's agricultural phase destroyed any traces of the bodies.

Tribal cemetaries are not necessarily sacred, as the Wyandotte tribe in KCK wanted to build a casino atop a Federally designated and very well documented Native American graveyard. It would seem that sacred places are only sacred when it's to someone's advantage, and not necessarily for the right reasons. Has anyone been to Cahokia Mounds near East St. Louis? That was sacred native ground from hundreds of years, then it's residents abandoned it, never to return.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

The land that was transferred from Haskell to Baker, which is now referred to as the Baker Wetlands, was federally owned land under the Dept of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and it was specifically set aside for Haskell. If it was ever owned by Baker previous to federal ownership, this is the first I have ever heard of it. Do you know of any any documentation of this, or is this just what you heard somewhere?

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

I would like to start a informal poll.

Please copy and paste the following lines in your post and answer the 3 questions. Thanks

1) FOR 32nd alignment: (yes or no)

2) FOR 42nd alignment and 31st improvement: (yes or no)

3) Your 3 reasons for that alignment: A)



lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

eudora is getting a bypass to I-70 in no time.

lawrence is too fickle to do anything because the lunatics run the asylum.

did you read that american eagle is expanding in ottawa? lawrence lost out on that one because of all the wackos (that make up the minority) screamed bloody murder left and right. no matter where that company turned, they had opposition.

ottawa called them up and said, "hey, why don't you stop messing with all the weirdos in lawrence, and come down here. we'd love to have you! we aren't an elitist kind of community."

what have we gotten since THAT happened? just one company who works with blood that promised specialized high paying jobs (i wonder how many people in lawrence would've qualified?) that closed before they opened the doors. REAL progress, NOT!

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

I would like to start a informal poll.

Please copy and paste the following lines in your post and answer the 3 questions. Thanks

1) FOR 32nd alignment:


2) FOR 42nd alignment and 31st improvement:


3) Your 3 reasons for that alignment:

A)Dont want BYPASS it in the city

B)Less traffic on an improved 31st st. (trucks will BYPASS city)

C)Saftey of drivers on the Traffic way(There will be many animal/car collisions if 32nd alainment.Higher speeds of cars on the bypass than on a improved 31st.)

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


What about Packer or Berry Plastics expansion?

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago

And Eudora is not getting the I-70 "just like that". There have been cmplaints from some people in Tongie and Eudora.

But anyway, how can you compare a on/off ramp to a Interstate with a major 110 mill road project in the heart of a city?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

As usual, luny will ignore the fact that there were reasons for the opposition, and just whine that there wasn't a rubberstamp commission, whose buddies and benefactors would make money on any new development, no matter how badly it sucked for the vast majority of the rest of Lawrence.

Mike Blur 12 years, 1 month ago

Gosh Spikey, you seem so well informed and resolute in your postings on this topic.

Could you and/or you family be involved in a business (construction...building supplies?) that has a deeply invested interest in a 32nd Street route?

Bob Billings himself would be proud of what you wrote today.

one_persons_opinion 12 years, 1 month ago

I just want something to be done about the traffic on 23rd. It's a shame that there isn't another way east out of town (besides 23rd) when you are in south Lawrence.

spikey_mcmarbles 12 years, 1 month ago

Mike: No, I have no connection to anything or anyone related to the SLT. But I've lived all my life here, and I'm interested in anything related to our local history. And I don't know that Bob Billings would be proud of me, as I've disagreed over the years with some of his development plans.

Bozo: an afternoon spent at the register of deeds office and/or the public works office would certainly clear up who has held title to those lands for the past 150 years or so. I've seen old maps and talked to old timer's who refer to that area as belonging to Baker.

Here's some people who would know or who could shed some info on this area: Bobbi Rader at Haskell, Dan and Tollie Wildcat, or Judi Sweets. All are local historians, very personable, and very knowledgable.

If anyone comes up with anything contrary to what I've written, let me know and I'll post an admission of my error(s). For those that know me (and for those who don't), I'm usually the first to laugh at myself and my mistakes.

kcwarpony 12 years, 1 month ago

Spikey, is someone else posting under your name?

Posted by spikey_mcmarbles (anonymous) on March 30, 2006 at 1:16 p.m. (Suggest removal) Mike: No, I have no connection to anything or anyone related to the SLT. But I've lived all my life here,

Posted by spikey_mcmarbles (anonymous) on September 4, 2005 at 4:05 p.m. (Suggest removal) I'm new to the area and didn't know Haskell area is an Indian Reservation. And what's all this Baker business; what do they have to do with it? Can someone provide me a link where I can get some background? Is this really a giant issue in Lawrence, or is it just a tempest in a teapot? I must confess that the bridge to nowhere across south Iowa is pretty funny.

Baille 12 years, 1 month ago

"I just want something to be done about the traffic on 23rd. It's a shame that there isn't another way east out of town (besides 23rd) when you are in south Lawrence."

It has been shown by numerous studies and agreed to by even proponents of the 32nd alignment that the proposed bypass will do nothing to alleviate congestion on 23rd.

And there is a way out of town from south Lawrence. Take 31st to Haskell, then Haskell up to the far eastern leg of 23rd, and then 23rd 'till you are out. No need to put an interchange at Louisiana and 31st and create a whole new commercial district for that. In addition, the 42nd alignment would get you out faster because it would be a straight shot out with none of the intersections or dumb stoplights of the western leg of the SLT.

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


Did you extrapolate that from my or your AS*

How do you, billyfly, get to........

"according to you, native's are not apart of man, and therefore only native's are a part of nature, and non-native's which are apart from nature must be a part of some great desgin and not a part of the evolutionary process, ex, farmland,

so that means that only native's which are not a part of man, but are a part of nature, can be the only one's that decide if a road is to be built or not?"

........from what I posted?

Here is my earlier post to billyflay.


Of all the process you mention in your post only the "Farmland" was not a natural environment. The "Farmland" was not only a manmade environment, it was also forced upon a native population."

LawrenceKSisgreat 12 years, 1 month ago


The more I read your post, the more confused I get. Are you saying draining a wet land, a farmer plowing the earth and planting crops is a evolutionary process?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 12 years, 1 month ago

Posted by LawrenceKSisgreat (anonymous) on March 30, 2006 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal) I would like to start a informal poll.

Please copy and paste the following lines in your post and answer the 3 questions. Thanks

1) FOR 32nd alignment: no

2) FOR 42nd alignment and 31st improvement: yes

3) Your 3 reasons for that alignment: A)preserve the wetlands

B)better plan for future growth

C)respect for the environment

one_persons_opinion 12 years, 1 month ago

Well, I know one thing.....

Whatever happens with this SLT thing....they need to put a light at 31st and Louisiana!!! That four way stop sign business just isn't cutting it!!

neopolss 12 years, 1 month ago

"we live in a democracy where the majority rules. the voters spoke at the ballot box. it's time to get the road built."

Wrong. You live in a republic, built by design to prevent the will of the majority from overshadowing the minority, and protecting the rights of all. Until the legal issues and funding are figured out, you will simply have to wait. Majority or no.

kcwarpony 12 years, 1 month ago

LKSisgreat's poll.

1) FOR 32nd alignment: No

2) FOR 42nd alignment and 31st improvement: Yes and Maybe

3) Your 3 reasons for that alignment:

A) This city needs a true bypass, not a temporary fix.

B) To leave the historical impact that the land has had on generations of Haskell students intact and to leave the students who died there in their resting place. Also to provide a peaceful environment from which to practice our spirituality.

C) To preserve the wetlands for future generations to come.

cybermaiden 12 years, 1 month ago

1) FOR 32nd alignment: NO

2) FOR 42nd alignment and 31st improvement: Yes

3) Your 3 reasons for that alignment: A)I want a BY-PASS not a PASS-THROUGH

B)42nd alignment will avoid the Baker Wetland area altogether

C)Our Native American Community is more important to me than getting to wal-mart in 5 minutes.

gccs14r 12 years, 1 month ago

32nd Street NO 42nd Street YES, if we build at all. 31st Street Improvements NO--pull out the road to make the wetlands whole again.

Wetlands are habitat for organisms that make it possible for higher-order forms (humans) to survive. We'd be shooting ourselves in the foot to pave over one so close to home. Having 31st St run through the wetlands is the equivalent of having an unguarded subway line running through one's living room.

KsTwister 12 years, 1 month ago

Give it up. A Bypass already is called I-70. And they just fly by too,for good reason.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

That was a very long-winded exhibition of your ignorance of what wetlands are, MD. But I take it that your main point is "I want my SLT!!" (sung to the tune of Dire Straits "I want my MTV!!")

gccs14r 12 years, 1 month ago

"Lots of new 'wetlands' created. Wet all year."

Full of hazardous runoff from the roadbed. Not the same thing, unless you like six-legged frogs and blind fish.

kcwarpony 12 years, 1 month ago

MD, honey, please, I can't keep a straight face with YOU talking about wet lands and those animals!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

Putting the SLT south of the river might add a mile or two to the drive of some drivers, but it will decrease the distance for others, more and more as the city expands south. The "increased distance" argument is a red herring.

SpeedRacer 12 years, 1 month ago

Bob Dole did manage to get funding for highways (especially when Elizabeth was in the DOT) and for many other things- even when it wasn't a Republican administration. I don't see this same level of support for out state from Brownback and Roberts. This administration should be ideal for them to help get funding for Kansas, but they seem too busy trying to push their moral agendas.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

Washington, D.C. - March 27, 2006) Swamps, bogs, fens, and marshes - in short, wetlands - are as vital to our environment as coral reefs and rain forests. With that in focus, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are proposing a new rule to ensure more effective wetlands restoration and preservation nationwide. The agencies' rule, being published for public comment, proposes improved science and results-oriented standards to increase the quality and effectiveness of wetlands conservation practices under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

"We are accelerating the pace of wetlands restoration and conservation," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, U.S. EPA assistant administrator for Water. "Today's action which emphasizes the best available science, promotes innovation, and focuses on results will help our nation meet the President's ambitious wetlands goal, while promoting flexibility and accountability."

"We are focusing on a watershed approach for improving wetlands conservation in this proposed rule," John Paul Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the Army (Civil Works), said. "This approach helps us fulfill the promise President Bush has made to protect, improve and create new wetlands and other aquatic resources."

The proposed rule: - Responds to recommendations of the National Research Council to improve the success of wetland restoration and replacement projects; - Sets clear science-based and results-oriented standards nationwide while allowing for regional variations; - Increases and expands public participation; - Encourages watershed-based decisions; and - Affirms the "wetlands mitigation sequence" requiring that proposed projects fully avoid and minimize potential wetland impacts.

The proposed rule combines accountability and flexibility.

By focusing on results and accountability, the proposed standards will improve the quality and effectiveness of wetland replacement projects. Most importantly, the proposal establishes a "level playing field" ensuring that all forms of wetlands conservation satisfy the same high environmental standards.

Increased reliance on innovative, market-based approaches is expected to promote the expansion of wetland banking, which is one of the most reliable and environmentally effective methods of wetland replacement. A wetland bank is a wetland, stream, or other aquatic resource area that has been restored and protected to offset permitted impacts to wetlands or other aquatic resources.

Wetlands provide important environmental functions including protecting and improving water quality and providing habitat to fish and wildlife. Wetlands are also critically important areas for storing floodwaters and can reduce damage from storm surges caused by hurricanes.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

I- 70 connectors are the most practical of all KDOT studies. It would provide a quicker way to East Hills Business Park and any new light industrial facilities that become reality in SE Lawrence which is bound to happen.

Having this traffic exit and enter at this eastern point is far better than at Noria due to heavy city residential traffic that is obviously building.

Not only that building a bridge over the river would more than likely bring financial assistance from at least two other counties who also benefit from the I-70 connectors. Hopefully the bridge is turned over to KTA to allow user fees to finance the highway which is far more attractive than shelling out more tax dollars for maintenance etc.

The wetlands route will affect the Prairie Park Nature Center to some degree in which more than a million total tax dollars were initially spent. Why wreck this beautiful educational venture and waste tax dollars at the same time?

Use existing interchange 1057 and K10 to take traffic north to I 70 by way of constructing I-70 connectors to the Tongie KTA interchange now on the table.

The I-70 connectors idea accomplishes many things:

A. Services JOCO and Douglas County traffic going to NW Lawrence or Topeka B. Services the Eudora Business Park east of 1057 C. Services East Hills Business Park and the SE Work Center area west of 1057 D. Diverts traffic out around the city as it should E. Keeps the SLT entirely out of the wetlands F. Reduces traffic substantially on 31st G. Working with the Kansas Turnpike Authority could save Douglas County taxpayers untold millions of dollars. H. This concept potentially brings Douglas, JOCO, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties together as partners to assist in funding. I. Building a road through the wetlands at any cost at this point in time is simply not prudent use of Douglas County tax dollars.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

"gccs..the Baker wetlands are surrounded by salted roads traveled by vehicles that drop oil, and other evils all year. What's the difference?"

You want to increase that by a hundred fold. That's the difference.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

As far as I could tell nothing much has changed after attending the meeting.

Mike Ford 12 years, 1 month ago

Native American tribe suing Washington state August 13th, 2005 by Nancy Callahan The Seattle Times is reporting that the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is suing the state of Washington:

In a class-action lawsuit, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has accused the state of Washington of knowing and willful desecration of Indian graves, and demanded reburial of its ancestors.

The suit, filed yesterday in Thurston County Superior Court, demands the state allow reburial of 316 cedar boxes containing the remains of ancestors dug up during a state Department of Transportation construction project in Port Angeles. The site was home to the largest Indian village ever found in Washington.

The tribe also wants the state to return some 2,000 truckloads of material taken by state contractors to a nearby landfill, and screen a portion of that for human remains, as promised in an agreement under which the construction project proceeded.

For the rest of the article, which was published Saturday, click the above link.


gccs14r 12 years, 1 month ago

"the Baker wetlands are surrounded by salted roads traveled by vehicles that drop oil, and other evils all year."

That's another good reason to remove 31st Street, at least the leg between Louisiana and Haskell.

Jay_Z 12 years, 1 month ago


Mighty nice of you to call out us "white people". I am sure there are no African-Americans, Asians, or Hispanics in favor of the SLT. Whites are the only ones in favor of the SLT....right. You seem like a reasonable person.

nonimbyks 12 years, 1 month ago

Just build it, it will be fine, I can get to KC faster, you can then take down the no left turns on 23rd residential streets during rush hr. And all the big simis with HAZMAT and fuel trucks, oversized vehicles, etc will then be out of the business area of 23rd.

Although, having to drive down 23rd does allow for me to stop for breakfast in the morning which the SLT would not have. Do you think that some of this defiance of the SLT are being spured on by the business on 23rd?

Jay_Z 12 years, 1 month ago

It is simply amazing the lack of leadership in this city to get this project done. Looking at the timeline in this article shows just that.

Enough is something--32nd street, 42nd, 69th street, whatever. It is insane to have only one entry point into Lawrence from KC on K-10. I used to live in west lawrence and commute to KC for work...took me 20 minutes to drive 5 miles across town, and 30 minutes to drive 35 miles to KC once I got out of the city limits. I'm moving outta here to KC in a couple of months. I hope some true leaders step up to fix the problems (not just the SLT) in this great town....maybe I'll move back some day.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

This is a state project, with federal oversight. The city has no real say in it. What is stopping it right now is lack of funding-- they need at least $110 million, probably much more. If it ever gets funding, a legal challenge for any of a variety of reasons might then delay or stop it. City and county officials, elected or otherwise, will have no say in that, either.

gccs14r 12 years, 1 month ago

If you're on the west side and don't want to cross Lawrence to get to KC, use the turnpike.

topekan7 12 years, 1 month ago

Please keep fighting about the SLT! More and more businesses will locate in Topeka! Lawrence=Laughingstock! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Jay_Z 12 years, 1 month ago


If you live on the west side of Lawrence but work on the south side of KC, it doesn't make sense to use I-70.

kcwarpony 12 years, 1 month ago

MD, the graves have always been an issue, for the Haskell community anyway. Stories from our ancestors tell us graves are out there. Generation after generation of Haskell students have told these stories, just as my father told me. Problem is non-natives don't believe things like this unless they are written down on some piece of paper somewhere. Indians live on oral tradition. Another problem is we really don't like discussing our stories with just anyone. The link I would like to give you is no longer up and running, hmmm:but for a little background, try this one.

SLT Timeline

As I see it, KDOT already had their minds made up on the matter of graves.

"But Mike Rees, KDOT's chief counsel, said he didn't think the research would result in any spectacular revelations. And even if possible graves were found, Rees predicted the findings wouldn't stop the trafficway."

Then in August 2001,

"Paul Brockington, a consultant hired by KDOT to assess the historical significance of the wetlands, told Haskell officials there was a "good possibility" of finding Indian burial sites within the wetlands."

"Brockington said he initially doubted there were graves in the wetlands, but he changed his mind after interviews with tribal elders. He said he now believes there are graves near the north side of the river."

In April of 2002 the state archeologist confirms what KDOT wants to hear.

"After turning 472 shovelfuls of soil in the Baker Wetlands, a state archeologist couldn't uncover any evidence of humans buried beneath the soggy earth in the path of the proposed final leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway."

kcwarpony 12 years, 1 month ago

And so does the hired consultant,

"Paul Brockington, an archeologist and president of Atlanta-based consulting firm Brockington & Associates, spent several weeks in 2001 using ground-penetrating radar and other means to search for human remains in the wetlands. None were found."

From what I understand, ground penetrating radar is not all that accurate in saturated soils. That's what wetlands are, saturated soil, and it was wet when the testing was done, as you can see in this report.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to seek input from all the tribes that had ever had a student at Haskell for the project's draft environmental impact statement. "35 tribes said they were concerned about unmarked American Indian graves in the wetlands. 34 said no construction should occur on property owned by Haskell Indian Nations University or Baker University. 32 support listing Haskell and the wetlands as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. 32 signed a form letter objecting to completion of the trafficway. 10 said they found there would be no impact apparent." More tribes may have responsed but I have yet to find that information. "The National Congress of American Indians, representing more than 500 tribes in North America, last week passed a resolution calling for "halting and termination" of the trafficway project."

KDOT is working hard, too hard, to push this trafficway through on 32nd street. You would think with this messy situation, that KDOT would relent and go south of the river.

doubledogleg 12 years, 1 month ago

Corps of Engineers' Website has much information compiled by experts. Worth a look for those interested in the facts.

Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

I get the distinct impression that Multidisciplinary is in a professional profession, perhaps in medicine or social work.


Commenting has been disabled for this item.