Archive for Monday, December 15, 2008

KDOT plans survey of future route of SLT

Crews today will begin surveying land around the proposed 32nd Street alignment for the South Lawrence Trafficway.

December 15, 2008


— State officials on Monday announced that surveying work will start on the proposed South Lawrence Trafficway but that funding for construction of the $150 million project remains unavailable.

“We were afraid if our surveyors just showed up out there, it would give rise to the feeling that we would try to fly under the radar,” said Vicky Johnson, Kansas Department of Transportation’s chief counsel. “This survey work is not an indication that we are getting ready to start the project.”

But she said the survey does show that planning continues on the proposal to build the SLT, connecting U.S. Highway 59 south of town with Kansas Highway 10 near Noria Road.

The proposed route along 32nd Street has been fought for years by those who say it will damage the environmental and historical significance of the Baker Wetlands, just south of Haskell Indian Nations University.

A lawsuit challenging the project is pending, and there is no funding for construction.

Bob Eye, the lead attorney representing groups opposed to the SLT, said he was disappointed the surveying was taking place.

“Spending money surveying this route seems to be an unwise expenditure when there are bridges and potholes to be repaired,” Eye said.

KDOT said the survey is needed to identify right-of-way and to map potential tie-in points for interchanges, locations of utilities, drainage structures and update aerial photography and other information last compiled in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The work will take about three months along 5 1/2 miles, outside the Baker Wetlands, KDOT said.

Johnson said she didn’t know how much the survey would cost but that it would involve a 3- or 4-person KDOT crew. KDOT would like to have plans for the project completed so that if funding did become available the agency could proceed, she said.

At this point, the state is facing severe budget problems.


gccs14r 9 years, 4 months ago

A waste of time and money. The road will not be built as planned. Obama's EPA will not allow the road to go through, and the Republicans will soon lose the Kansas Legislature, too. By 2016, KDOT will have all new leadership, and if the SLT is still perceived as a necessary roadway, it will be realigned and built south of the river.

situveux1 9 years, 4 months ago

Ok, I can go along with the Obama EPA thing, but Republicans loosing the Kansas Legislature? Is it really necessary to check out of reality before posting here?

KS 9 years, 4 months ago

BO wants to put everyone to work on government programs. It will be done. He is getting his infrasttructure plan together now. He said that today. There are a bunch of "shovel ready" projects just waiting and the SLT is one of them. Queen Kathy is a friend of his. She is coming to KU as the new boss and she needs a quick route to JoCo for all the cocktail parties. It's just a matter of who you know. Let the pavers roll.

janeyb 9 years, 4 months ago

Yes Obama's infrastructure plan includes tennis courts, a parking lot at the Orange Bowl, children's museums, swimming pools--it is one of the biggest pork projects ever.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 4 months ago

Fill in the goddamn mosquito swamp. Build the damn road.When is the city going to get the message and tell the loons, morons, out-of-town rabble-rousers and ner'do-wells that this is the way it will be and to go fly your stupid anti-everything notions with the residents on Uranus.This is the craziest most unbelievable set of events I believe I have ever been witness to in my life and where else but in Larryville would such a long and drawn out argument continue to have any veracity????

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Fiscally irresponsible aka wasting tax dollars. This is how the bridge to nowhere came about.

Michael Caron 9 years, 4 months ago

    Do you seriously think the federal courts will rule on the SLT wetlands route in the next six to nine months? Once the ruling comes down and the road is "DEAD IN THE WATER" you can bet KDOT will appeal, as they did last time. That legal process will take up to 18 months to run its course, no matter who "wins". The "pave the mosquito farm" good ol' boys can wet dream a KDOT rape of nature every night through the long winter, but it is very unlikely to happen.       Even if the state does somehow luck out with some Bush judicial appointee who agrees that paving the wetlands and screwing the Indians again is just fine, it will not be over. The proponents will still face a major bloody battle trying to get another penny of federal money to fund this particular abortion.       Senator Roberts snuck in a little earmark under the anti-environmental Bush watch, but Barak's administration is not going to pave wetlands that will, with absolute certainty, raise a loud protest from Indians and environmentalists coast to coast. One of several short videos about the wetlands on YouTube, "A Fight for the Land" by a Haskell teacher and KU student has already had well over 40,000 views.       It would be far wiser if the boneheads who persist in trying to build this regional by-pass through the wetlands took a deep breath, looked at what has happened in the last 20 years, and got serious about finding a way around the city that can be funded while the new administration is anxious to hand out funds for major infrastructure.      The old saw about biting off one's nose to spite your face comes to mind. KDOT is sticking its nose into the wetlands with this survey work, and it will be throwing good money away at a time when our state's roads and bridges desperately need money for repairs. Their arrogance in wasting taxpayer money to prove a point is unbelievable in this time of economic hardship.

honestone 9 years, 4 months ago

regardless of what side of this issue you are on...what would have happened if the people that insist on the current proposed alignment looked at the "further-south" alignment and spent the money used to battle the current alignment to construct the further-south alignment??? The road from west Lawrence to Johnson County would already be in use and ready for another repaving. Everybody would have gotten part of what they want...except for the people building the new luxury student apartments

SMe 9 years, 4 months ago

KDOT English Translation "Let's waste some more money on this poorly planned project."

chzypoof1 9 years, 4 months ago

You guys always make me laugh when these articles come out....the KDOT is doing this because it's a fact that the latest lawsuit will get thrown out, just like all the others. There is NO question to the legality of the road. BAKER owns the swamplands...and they gave approval to have it built. Nothing else to say. Your pending arguments will not change the facts.....Bring out the pavers....poof

Michael Caron 9 years, 4 months ago

Poor chzypoof1 is unaware that KDOT and FHWA lost the last round in the federal courts, including the appeal they filed in Denver's 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. No surprise he/she has no idea that KU owns 20 acres that are critical to the so called 32nd Street route for the SLT. The University of Kansas has not given any "permission", or even been consulted yet. The KU Provost recently told a group of KU EcoJustice and KU Environs students, who have been advocating for a return of that land to Haskell, that the university would refuse to sell or transfer that parcel to KDOT. It may or may not be possible to take it by eminent domain or other legal process. That will almost certainly result in another legal challenge down the road if the wetlands route for the SLT is not already dead by then.

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