Archive for Friday, December 19, 2008

Drivers, get ready for ramp change on turnpike

Interchange updates could upset traffic

Construction plans are in the future for portions of the Kansas Turnpike. Plans are in place to widen sections of the turnpike from North Lawrence to Kansas highway 7 to six lanes.

Construction plans are in the future for portions of the Kansas Turnpike. Plans are in place to widen sections of the turnpike from North Lawrence to Kansas highway 7 to six lanes.

December 19, 2008


Interchange updates could upset traffic

Construction at a Kansas Turnpike interchange soon will put a new twist on traffic. Enlarge video

While major reconstruction work on the Kansas Turnpike’s East Lawrence interchange won’t start for more than a year, drivers soon will get a head start on the inconvenience.

By the end of the month, crews plan to close the interchange’s existing ramp for traffic coming into town from the east. Those drivers will exit earlier, using a new and longer exit ramp.

The change will mean that eastbound traffic leaving the turnpike at exit 204 will be forced to stop at a new, temporary stop sign, then turn left onto the remaining portion of the familiar loop that leads toward the toll plaza.

The arrangement is to remain in place until spring 2010, when the entire interchange will be closed for eight months for construction of a new roundabout, ramps and other upgrades.

Rex Fleming, the turnpike’s project engineer, acknowledges that the upcoming rearrangements will introduce a new set of potential traffic conflicts:

• Drivers turning left from the stop sign will be crossing traffic that is entering the loop to go west toward Topeka. “That traffic does not stop, so when you come down to the stop sign, you have to check to make sure there is no traffic coming,” Fleming said.

• Drivers leaving town for Topeka will remain on their regular side of the loop but now will face running into the side of a turning vehicle. “They’ll need to be driving the speed limit,” he said. “Everybody through there will have to be watching the signs.”

The switch likely will occur next week, Fleming said, as crews still need favorable weather conditions for installation of new asphalt.

The work is part of a $130 million project to replace turnpike bridges that cross the Kansas River. The project is expected to be finished by the end of 2011.


SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 6 months ago

Why is the tollway called "the turnpike"? Oh, it's because of the government's marketing spin. We're to be fooled into thinking that we're not paying a toll every time we use our interstate.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 6 months ago

Finally get to make a turn at the Turnpike. As a bonus we get a real Stop sign. Thanks

rachaelisacancer 9 years, 6 months ago

"Turnpike" is a euphemism. But the alternative to a toll is having our tax dollars pay for the highway. I'm fine with that, but I imagine many are not.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 6 months ago

If I may offer my two cents about the new, East Lawrence roundabout( having been somewhat disappointed by the first ) ...increased diameter, widened roadway with steepening bank... I want to be screamin' when I hit that K-Tag lane!( bar-lift enhancement implied )

SMe 9 years, 6 months ago

this is another brilliant idea. Why wasn't it designed correctly in the first place? Why not make it a four way stop and prevent a wreck or five? Gee, given this is Lawrence why not put in a temporary roundabout?!BobbleheadsSpoken in a whisper, "I see bobbleheads."

CLARKKENT 9 years, 6 months ago


GardenMomma 9 years, 6 months ago

Actually the "turnpike" was so called because a pike was placed across a road and impeded traffic from crossing until a toll was paid and then the "pike" was "turned" away and traffic could cross, hence the term "turnpike."Comes from long ago, but still the government's way of collecting a fee for using the road. Supposedly the fees collected are to provide for the maintenance of said road.

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 6 months ago

great trivia, gardenmomma. I had no clue. thanks.

Curtis Lange 9 years, 6 months ago

Well, this could be interesting for awhile. That looks to be a pretty sharp left turn. It also looks to be the entrance to the new roundabout when they get it completed. Hopefully they have signs before exiting warning semi's not to take the exit.

Grump 9 years, 6 months ago

What the Turnpike Authority has done and is doing at the Lawrence interchanges makes no sense. Have they hired "Bong Hit" Boog to design the interchanges or something?

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