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Archive for Monday, November 24, 2008

Kansas Turnpike Authority opens West Lawrence interchange

This aerial photograph looks southeast across the fully operational West Lawrence interchange along the Kansas Turnpike, which is exit 202 in Lawrence. The bridge across the turnpike and the roundabout at the bottom of the photo are new, as are the two ramps connected to the roundabout. Lawrence, Douglas County and Kansas University officials are still considering whether to work together on deciding what might go in the middle of the roundabout, a site offered by turnpike officials.

This aerial photograph looks southeast across the fully operational West Lawrence interchange along the Kansas Turnpike, which is exit 202 in Lawrence. The bridge across the turnpike and the roundabout at the bottom of the photo are new, as are the two ramps connected to the roundabout. Lawrence, Douglas County and Kansas University officials are still considering whether to work together on deciding what might go in the middle of the roundabout, a site offered by turnpike officials.

November 24, 2008

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Kansas Turnpike Authority opens West Lawrence interchange

Cars, trucks and semis are once again rolling through the Kansas Turnpike's entire West Lawrence interchange. Enlarge video

The Kansas Turnpike’s West Lawrence interchange is fully operational once again, having opened its new ramps to traffic Monday afternoon.

The interchange, which is exit 202 on the turnpike, had been partially closed since June. That’s when crews went to work building a new bridge across the turnpike, a roundabout along the north side of the highway and two ramps for traffic heading into Lawrence from the east and leaving town toward Topeka.

Earlier Monday, Kansas Turnpike Authority crews took care of final details before opening the bridge, roundabout and new ramps to traffic: placing lane stripes, dismantling temporary “ROAD CLOSED” signs, and testing electrical connections for the tall overhead lights counted on for illuminating the way for drivers who had been forced for months into finding alternate ways into and out of Lawrence.

Then, at 3 p.m. — three weeks ahead of schedule — the work paid off.

“We’re proud of that,” said Rex Fleming, KTA project engineer. “We appreciate everybody’s patience during the past few months.

“I’m excited. I’m relieved.”

Contractors now can turn their attention to finishing construction of a new bridge across the Kansas River. Once that bridge is completed — expected sometime in 2010 — crews will divert all turnpike traffic onto that bridge and then demolish the existing bridges to make way for yet another new span.

The overall $130 million project also will include rebuilding the East Lawrence interchange, which is exit 204 in North Lawrence. Work on that portion of the process is expected to begin in late spring or early summer 2010.

The entire project remains on track for completion in 2011, Fleming said.

Comments

overthemoon 6 years ago

so the roundabout is ok, can't wait to try it on a game day or other heavy traffic time. but there is STILL the ktag-lane-car-dodging with cars coming from the west trying to get to a cashier lane. this is an improvement???

Curtis Lange 6 years ago

Impediment to traffic flow? Hahahahaha. Good one.

KS 6 years ago

Looks pretty cool! Roundabouts are great. If you don't like them, turn in your drivers license where you got it.......Wal-Mart. In Lawrence, you will soon have two to choose from.

LogicMan 6 years ago

The three purposes of the roundabout that I can think of quickly are:1) To eliminate the need for an overpass (north bound Iowa onto west I-70, versus west bound I-70 onto south Iowa),2) To allow those west bound I-70 travelers who unwisely exited to get back on west bound I-70, and3) To provide revenue-growth for Lawrence's body shops and the the hospital.

redmoonrising 6 years ago

And to keep the Kansas Turnpike a self-supporting toll road. After all, they need something to justify the toll. Next life I'm coming back as a concrete and/or asphalt supplier to the Kansas Turnpike. I shall never want.

hogiB 6 years ago

wow... The "traffic Engineers" around here never cease to stop amazing me with the most retarded things they can come up with!! Instead of placing a "fly over" ramp, like most cities would do, they choose to stick it to the drivers who will have to navigate through game day traffic in this mess.This ranks right up there with Iowa and 23rd not having timed stop lights, which causes people to speed through town trying to beat the next one, and 10 cars stoping for one car to turn right type of mentality.

Jackson 6 years ago

Another reason to move OUT of Kansas....

Jefferson_County 6 years ago

Luddite roundabout navigators: I have noticed some of your Model T's having trouble negotiating the tight turning radius of the roundabout - I feel for you. It does, however, eliminate the insidious cloverleaf designs of old, which I am sure you all miss. Does make the entrance ramp somewhat of an acceleration lane, for whatever that is worth. The cross-over to the dedicated K-tag lane is still a problem, though. Maybe it will be addressed if/when they upgrade the tollbooth area and ramps on the south side of the turnpike.

salad 6 years ago

"Instead of placing a “fly over” ramp, like most cities would do, they choose to stick it to the drivers who will have to navigate through game day traffic in this mess."Yeah...if a roundabout "sticks it to you" as a driver, then you're probably too stupid to own a car. Fly over ramp is a HUGE amount of time and expenditure...like 20-50 million EXTRA. I think you should be applauding KDOT's wise use of our tax dollars. We don't need a fly over ramp for the three times a year there might be a little more traffic...which will back up at the toll booth anyway.

nergie 6 years ago

Roundabouts are some of the most efficient traffic flow devices. Look at some freeway interchanges outside the US in Europe, Middle East and Asia where roundabouts are used successfully in areas with traffic 100 times worst than gameday in Lawrence. In Dubai, they use a roundabout for an interchange with the main freeway which is 14 lanes wide with great efficiency. Don't knock it until you try it.

Kevin Sontag 6 years ago

Look at that roundabout, man! Man, that is huuuuuge!You said it, Tiny Elvis!

zzgoeb 6 years ago

Jackson and all whiners...pack up and hit it!!! I think Missouri or Oklahoma would love to have you!!! Go rounds save megabucks, are safer than 4 way stops, or cloverleafs.

gccs14r 6 years ago

People are going to die on that roundie. Someone is going to fly off the turnpike at 80+ and T-bone someone in the circle. They should put a life-flight helicopter pad in the middle of the circle to save time.

Ralph Gage 6 years ago

My experience coming home from the Kansas City airport yesterday evening:The exit to the roundabout from the turnpike was obscured by cones and barricades, making it difficult to see and anticipate.The roundabout is elevated, so a driver has no visual clue there's a roundabout at the top of the exit lane, and there's little distance between the actual entrance to the roundabout and traffic coming from the left.(See the photo.) If you're not accustomed to traffic on the turnpike exit ramps, it's a surprise. The lights shown on the pole at the right in the photo above were not working.And overthemoon is absolutely correct about the conflicting traffic trying to get to the K tag lane.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

i'M in yr inNerChange, roUnding yr 'BouTs.

Confrontation 6 years ago

Roundabouts work pretty well, unless you're a complete idiot. Take for instance the stupid bimbo who decided to not look or yield the last time I was at the roundabout on 19th. I saw her coming and assumed she was an idiot, just like most drivers in Lawrence. She didn't hesitate or even glance, even though she was coming from the less-busy north side of the intersection. Just another Lawrencian who feels that his/her life is the most important. I'd like to thank my brakes for preventing an accident, although I would've loved to have slammed right into her.

average 6 years ago

I like roundabouts. If I could wave a wand I could name twenty places I'd drop one in town. The turnpike exits wouldn't have made the list. They'll work, I guess. They weren't necessary.BTW - Why is there even an option to 'complete the loop' at the south edge of the roundabout? Seems like that would never, ever, be necessary.

bad_dog 6 years ago

"BTW - Why is there even an option to 'complete the loop' at the south edge..."That was left open to permit "drifting" - in the event drivers get bored going around, Average.

Curtis Lange 6 years ago

average: That isn't an option to complete the loop. Looks more like drainage ramps (w/e the official name is) for water run-off.Ralph: I'm going to preface this by saying I have not personally driven this yet as you have. However, there should be signs showing there is a roundabout ahead. That is the driver's warning. The distance between the entry points seem more than adequate as well. Judging from the pictures and vehicles in it it looks to be 5-6 car lengths.

melott 6 years ago

Hey, and I only have to pay 5 cents more for the privalegeif being able to drive around in circles.

killjoy 6 years ago

Lawrence has put several roundabouts where they don't belong, but this takes the cake. There is no excuse for this and someone should be fired. It is poorly marked and actually slows down traffic flow. Coming into it from the East, you have to yeild to traffic already in the roundabout; wait until game days or any other high traffic period. Yesterday someone in the roundabout stopped for me (I was on the ramp from I-70 going West) I had to wait for them because they didn't know what to do. It only takes one driver to slow the whole process. I don't blame them, I blame the idiots who decided to put this there. This is ridiculous. They need to admit they made a mistake and remove it.

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