Archive for Friday, February 20, 2009

SLT Bob Billings interchange plan misses out on federal stimulus funding

Several road projects in Kansas received funding from the federal stimulus package.

February 20, 2009, 9:46 a.m. Updated February 20, 2009, 5:12 p.m.


Stimulus won't accommodate SLT project

State transportation officials have chosen five major road projects to be paid for by the stimulus program, but Douglas County is nowhere on that list. Enlarge video

The South Lawrence Trafficway won’t be getting a new interchange at Bob Billings Parkway any time soon.

The project — anticipated to cost $10 million — was not among several projects chosen for financing through the federal stimulus program approved this week. The interchange had been among $1.2 billion in projects that had been considered for the initial round of financing of about $280 million.

“In Kansas, we have far more needs than these stimulus dollars can meet,” said Deb Miller, Kansas secretary of transportation, in a meeting Thursday morning in Topeka.

Stimulus boost

The money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion stimulus program signed into law Tuesday by President Obama.

Two projects with Douglas County ties had been under consideration:

• $10 million for the interchange, a project that had been in the trafficway’s original plans but was eliminated before construction.

• $100 million to add two lanes to an existing six-mile stretch of Kansas Highway 10, either in Douglas or Johnson county.

The interchange project missed out, Miller said, in large part because it was not ready to go, while the five chosen projects are ready to be put out for bid in the coming weeks.

“It was not ready to let for construction, and it would take time to get that ready,” she said.

Projects that secured financing:

• $91 million for U.S. Highway 69, for the corridor from Interstate 35 to 103rd Street in Overland Park, to address congestion issues and support economic development.

• $23 million for Interstate 135/47th Street in Wichita, to rebuild and upgrade the interchange, alleviating a bottleneck and providing a link to an underutilized area.

• $11 million for Kansas Highway 23 in Gove County, to improve safety on 16 miles of a narrow, 50-year-old road.

• $88 million for Kansas Highway 61 in McPherson County, to expand a 15-mile corridor from two lanes to four.

• An unspecified amount to begin expanding Kansas Highway 18, between Fort Riley and Manhattan, to four lanes.

Other funding

KDOT also will receive $10 million for bicycle/pedestrian trails and depot restoration. Another $16 million will go toward urban transit projects, including $2.8 million for Johnson County, $2.5 million for Topeka and $1.93 million for Lawrence.

The department also is getting about $70 million to use for projects proposed by communities statewide. Lawrence and Douglas County will be competing for some of the $32 million available for areas outside Kansas City and Wichita; Douglas County leaders expect about $8 million to be available for such work in northeast Kansas.

Lawrence leaders have discussed pursuing a planned $6.6 million reconstruction of Kasold Drive, from Clinton Parkway to 31st Street.

Douglas County commissioners, meanwhile, will meet Monday to consider offering local money to help boost the chances of landing stimulus financing for a planned $2.6 million reconstruction of the Farmers Turnpike, from County Road 1029 to trafficway.

Craig Weinaug said that the county could commit some of the $898,433 it will be receiving from the state, after the state erred for several years in distributing revenues from taxes paid on gasoline.

Commissioners meet at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the county courthouse, 1100 Mass.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"KDOT will receive nearly $16 million for urban transit projects, including $2.8 million for Johnson County, $2.5 million for Topeka and $1.93 million for Lawrence"

For new buses?

Phil Minkin 8 years ago

On Wed. a bus driver told me that some of the funds will be used to build more cutouts at busy bus stops to avoid the congestion. I know that the #8 stop at 23rd and Ousdahl(both directions) can be a bottleneck.

RonBurgandy 8 years ago

When (if) they ever finish it, don't you think it will feel like something is missing at that point :)

stuckinthemiddle 8 years ago

the SLT should be a toll road it's the only fair way to fund it paid for by those who use it

Joe Hyde 8 years ago

Stuckinthemiddle, that's a very good idea, one I'd never considered.

Makes me wonder if Haskell University and the tribal elders would approve of the by-pass' completion along the 31st St. route if the SLT segment of K-10 Highway was operated as a toll road and Haskell University enjoyed a substantial cut of the annual profits.

FatTony 8 years ago

Stuckinthemiddle says, "the SLT should be a toll road it's the only fair way to fund it paid for by those who use it"

Using that logic make every road a toll road, its the only "fair" way.

stuckinthemiddle 8 years ago

I'm fine with the general concept, FatTony knowing that no one is going to put 10s of millions of dollars into most of the roads I drive on the tolls I pay ought to be fair and cheap

Random56 8 years ago

Finish the SLT, I lived in louisana for a while and there are alot of highways and roads that wind through swamps and wetlands, they didn't dry up or kill the wetlands. So what's the problem here? Wouldn't it create the jobs Obama wanted to see.

Scott Drummond 8 years ago

Yeeeeeee haw!!!!

"I lived in louisana for a while and there are alot of highways and roads that wind through swamps and wetlands, they didn't dry up or kill the wetlands."

I don't think Louisiana should serve as a model for how to plan in Kansas.

Random56 8 years ago

scott yeeeeee haw!!! is that implying I'm a redneck or something which is far from the truth. Back to the point or what is your point? Did Louisana fail to build roads because of environmental reasons?

junco_partner 8 years ago

Every road we drive on is already a toll road. What do you think a portion of the taxes we pay goes toward... roads and thier maintenace.

Random56 8 years ago

at least Louisana doesn't have highways that just stop for swamps or wetlands

manus_flexibilis 8 years ago

louz-yana, lose-yana! What do you got to lose beside a few minutes or few farm yards south of the Waki?

KS 8 years ago

The SLT is already a toll road. So is 23rd street and every other street you drive on. They are paid for thru your road fuel taxes. It's just too bad that those in power use the money for something else. Usually a social progarm or two.

Scott Drummond 8 years ago


"Yeeee Haw" reflects my excitement that this ill-considered welfare project for the county's well-connected real estate developers continues to die on the vine.

Louisiana has never been a model of progress, so my suggestion is that Kansas, Douglas County and Lawrence would do well to model on more progressive areas. The fact that a backward state like Louisiana paved over swamps does not mean much. Many would argue, in fact, it means we should do the opposite.

Random56 8 years ago

reflects your excitement??why do you like to stereotype people just because they lived in the south. Why do you degrade someone just because they don't agree with you? Did I say they were a model of progress???? No I just gave an example that thier roads don't just end because of wetlands.

Scott Drummond 8 years ago

Thank you, Random. Your comments prove my point better than anything I could say.

blindrabbit 8 years ago

All you bloggers are getting the State of Louisiana mixed or confused with Louisiana Street?

howie1 8 years ago

I dont see what the big problem about the SLT is, all of these people that dont support it, well i bet if haskell wanted to put a casino out there they would want to finish the SLT. I think that if all of the tree huggers would just shove it, and pay taxes, and get a job Kansas will be a better place to live where we wont have dead end highways, and we wont be in the same situations as california.

Sharon Aikins 8 years ago

Pardon my sarcasm here, but don't you get it, Howie? Why would we want something like that when we can sit at limitless stoplights along 6th and 23rd streets, wasting time, gas and polluting the air when we could zip around this progessive town? Better yet, let's build the SLT so far south families will use it for Sunday drives to show the kids a few cows and be halfway to Granny's house in Baldwin. After all man, we don't want to put ourselves on a par with Louisiana where former residents have the nerve to post a comment about the roads there. We want to prove our superiority by attacking them and proving our point, even if we don't have one that's noticeable, other than our predjudices showing.

geekin_topekan 8 years ago

"...well i bet if haskell wanted to put a casino out there ..." +++ HHmmm??!

Horace 8 years ago

I see Jenkins is working out quite well.

Downtoearth 8 years ago

Interchange!! what is are government thinking? Try telling this bad news to someone that is losing thier house and trying to feed their family! Do you think they really give a _ _ _?


BigPrune 8 years ago

Just wait until Highway 59 gets completed with its four lanes from Lawrence to Ottawa. When the traffic on 23rd Street increases another 20,000 cars a day to 50,000, not having the SLT will be fantastic! Of course the Birkenstock wearing earth Nazis won't care because it's not the downtown.

mdfraz 8 years ago

Here's my question about the eastern leg of the SLT.....there is mitigation going on between Louisiana St. extended and 59 highway; they are creating new wetlands, and the signs say it's in mitigation for the SLT. Is it going through on the existing road? On the 31st St. route? Another route? Seems to me you wouldn't go to the trouble and expense of creating new wetlands if you weren't going to displace the old ones for a new road.

Personally I think it's a fantastic, and long overdue, idea to finish the SLT. I wonder how much less it would have cost to do it 12-15 years ago when they were working on the western leg. I'm not insensitive to Baker, the environmentalists, and Haskell, but if nothing else, this new mitigation seems to show that the proponents of the road are willing to spend time and money to ease the concerns of the detractors. Anyone know about the route and/or proposed time schedule?

jonas_opines 8 years ago

"The interchange project missed out, Miller said, in large part because it was not ready to go, while the five chosen projects are ready to be put out for bid in the coming weeks."

hahahahah. What the hell have they been doing for the last 10 years?

Jennifer Nikkila Pressgrove 8 years ago

mdfraz: I can't answer any of the time schedule questions, but I do know that Baker is working on the mitigation and the people there have been fine with the proposed site for some time now. They were given land to relocate the wetlands now its up to others.

jonas_opines 8 years ago

edjayhawk: cracker is probably the referenced remark.

Liberty One: Do you actually believe that would work? Do you have any examples of it happening in reality on such a universal scale?

spankyandcranky 8 years ago

I can't say that I'd really use the road that this article is initially about, so it's not a large concern of mine whether they ever get it completed. And I don't know too much about the other proposed project that are getting funding. However, I use 31st street between Louisiana and Iowa in Lawrence every day. And it is so full of potholes that I'm surprised people don't hit each other trying to avoid them. I'd suggest Lawrence takes care of that problem before re-doing Kasold between 31st and Clinton Parkway. I drive both areas, and 31st definitely needs the attention first. Besides the potholes, it also has decent sized ruts. Especially futher east (btwn Louisian and Haskel).

jonas_opines 8 years ago

Whoops, sorry, I didn't read highway roads in your first post.

It seems you think that the city would have to take care of local roads?

jonas_opines 8 years ago

Liberty-One: That sounds more reasonable.

Hoots 8 years ago slams on Bob Billings the person. I can't believe it. He was an amazing person and gave to this city like no one else. He made every Christmas for me merry as a child. He didn't care if you had 2 cents or 2 million as long as you were a good person. What a wonderful man. We were lucky he stuck with us.

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