The Kansas Turnpike’s first fully automated interchange is now open.
Tuesday morning, a car carrying three men headed through the interchange, which is eight miles east of Lawrence.
The interchange is between Tonganoxie and Eudora.
Tonganoxie resident J.W. Evans was the first to drive through the interchange — and he served as chauffeur to fellow Tonganoxie resident Bill New, chairman of First State Bank and Trust, and Bill Green, former Leavenworth County public works director. The three were asked by turnpike officials to be the first through the interchange.
“I think it’s great,” Evans said of Leavenworth County’s first turnpike interchange. “I think it’s going to take a few years for it to be paid for. But with the growth we’ll have I think it will be an asset for us.”
Mary Turkington, KTA board chairwoman, agreed. Turkington, who has been on the KTA board since 1997, said she expects the interchange to not only benefit economic development in the immediate area, but also statewide.
The interchange, as well as improvements to Leavenworth County Road 1 between Tonganoxie and Kansas Highway 32, cost $16.7 million.