Archive for Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SLT expected to rank high on project funding list

October 7, 2009


SLT needs funds to move forward

The Kansas Department of Transportation could seek money for the South Lawrence Trafficway as part of a statewide construction and maintenance funding plan. Enlarge video

It soon will be competition time for the South Lawrence Trafficway, city and county leaders were told Tuesday afternoon.

Engineers with the Kansas Department of Transportation told city and county commissioners that the state has begun its process of ranking projects throughout the state to determine which ones would be funded as part of a new statewide comprehensive transportation program. The department plans to list a tentative ranking of the projects in the northeast Kansas area Thursday.

“It is the first cut, basically,” said Corky Armstrong, engineering manager for KDOT’s road office. “I would speculate that this project is going to rank fairly high in this entire process, but that’s about as far as I can go.”

But commissioners were told that it is not certain the Kansas Legislature will approve a new comprehensive transportation plan. Commissioners also were told that it would take KDOT upward of three years to complete design work for the project.

The department is estimating that to complete the eastern leg of the trafficway — which would connect U.S. Highway 59 in south Lawrence to Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence — will require about $150 million in new funding.

But some commissioners said they believed the project will be looked upon favorably.

“I think at this point it is really that everything around it is really forcing the issue,” said Mayor Rob Chestnut. “When you look at the widening of Highway 59, and you look at the intermodal project in Gardner, it is the one stretch of road now that really is the missing link.”

Commissioners also were briefly updated on a federal lawsuit that has been filed over the project. Individuals concerned about protecting the Baker Wetlands from the road have filed a suit claiming roadway officials did not properly study other alternative routes for the project. Attorneys for the state have recently filed several motions seeking to dismiss portions of the lawsuit. No timeline for when a ruling on whether parts of the case will be dismissed have been announced. KDOT expects a portion of the case to continue on, Armstrong said.

In other news from the study session, KDOT engineers said work to expand U.S. 59 to four lanes is on schedule. The bulk of the expansion in Douglas County is expected to be completed by the spring of 2012. The state then will make pavement improvements to the existing U.S. 59 in 2013 before it’s turned back over to the county for maintenance.


LogicMan 8 years, 7 months ago

Go for some of those Federal stimulus funds now for only the SLT interchange to the existing K-10. It could be built now ("shovel ready"/fast-tracked).

ferrislives 8 years, 7 months ago

Very good news. It's a'comin'! LogicMan, I absolutely agree. That project would have a good chance of qualifying once the lawsuit is settled. Once the new wetlands is completed, the other side won't have much of an argument anymore, since they don't own those "wetlands".

madameX 8 years, 7 months ago

LJ World Editors:

Perhaps now would be a good time to publish something laying out the proposed route and proposed alternatives, for those of us who care about this issue but don't actually know what they are. (I'm sure someone else's reply will be "learn to use google," so I'll go ahead and say that I have, but I'd like to see something a little more official than a google search, if it's out there.)

quimby 8 years, 7 months ago

ha ha consumer1.

thegreatsantini - in no way is this road an effort of sustainability, nor is it in any way good for the environment, so don't try to pose it as such.

madameX 8 years, 7 months ago

consumer1, maybe you should just move to Overland Park and be done with it. It seems like you'd be a lot happier there...

madameX 8 years, 7 months ago

Well, I'd rather keep Lawrence more or less the way it is so I don't have to live in an Overland Park, so I guess we're at odds.

madameX 8 years, 7 months ago

LOL, I guess Salina would have to be the new Topeka then? Westward ho!

Seriously though, some of us like a laid-back life in a place where there's not a neighborhood association breathing down your neck to cut the grass every third day and telling you what kind of siding you can put on your house, as well as having somewhere to go other than the mall.

And speaking of the mall, have you ever been in at Oak Park and encountered a woman who basically bathed in perfume? Or a man, for that matter? Not necessarily nice smelling...

Ralph Reed 8 years, 7 months ago

Santini, I agree with madameX in part. I would rather keep Lawrence the way it is, than turn it into OP (don't have the correct religious radicalism to live there anyway).

It's been stated here months/years ago that the SLT will do nothing to alleviate traffic on 23rd Street. Who, in their right mind, while living near Kasold would drive miles out of their way to "bypass" the traffic on 23rd street?

I have no doubt that the SLT will be built, especially with the continued developmental sprawl. A case in point is the gated community at 31st and Ousdahl (sp?) pandering to students. All their traffic goes up Louisianna. The SLT will do absolutely nothing to alleviate that. Yet, it's still going to be built.

Typical example of PPP (P*** Poor Planning) in Douglas County.

bankboy119 8 years, 7 months ago


Completely incorrect. The wasting of time, gas, and excess pollution that occurs because of the ridiculous congestion on 23rd Street will be reduced by the SLT

BigPrune 8 years, 7 months ago

Enough already. Why not sue the people that keep bringing lawsuits? Let the people's will be done. We voted for the bypass over 15 years or so ago (a public vote that was brought upon by the anti-SLT people in another court case to force a public vote) and the majority voted to allow the bypass.

The bypass will do more positive things for our local economic development than anything else Lawrence can do. The opposition are mainly a small group of outsiders that moved in and want to keep Lawrence exactly the way it was when they moved here. The majority of Lawrence residents want the bypass. Sue the suers. Enough is enough.

MyName 8 years, 7 months ago


Okay, setting aside the problem that Lawrence is where people from Overland Park go to get away from Overland Park (or at least away from their parents in OP), I think the really huge mind boggler is this: HTH do you think Topeka is going to somehow turn into the "new" Lawrence? Have you been to Topeka?

And I'm not talking about the edge of town. I'm talking HWY 40 -> through scenic E. Topeka -> all around central -> then take a quick tour of N. Topeka before heading back home down HWY 24.

There is no way you can make Topeka into the "new" Lawrence with out moving all of E. and Central down to KCK and all of N. Topeka down to Junc City or Manhattan. Oh, and you'd also need to build at least 2 more malls and then evacuate one of them and turn it into a giant empty hardware store. Topeka has like 3 times the people and half the personality of Lawrence.

That is all.

whynaut 8 years, 7 months ago

Yay! SLT! Finally, struggling South Lawrence businesses can get the shot in the arm they've been needing for so many years.

Easing the journey of W. Lawrence consumers on their way to Target, Wal-Mart, Old Navy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohls, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc., will be like economic lubricant for that part of town and should be a top priority.

madameX 8 years, 7 months ago

consumer1, Eight, and it was a joke/observation (in response to what I thought was supposed to be a sarcastic semi-joke) rather than an attempt to tell you what to do. I'll refrain from a "typical whatever, no sense of humor" jab, though. Although you're not really one to talk about telling people what to do, if you really were serious about paving over the whole of East Lawrence.

PapaB 8 years, 7 months ago

madameX (Anonymous) says… "Well, I'd rather keep Lawrence more or less the way it is so I don't have to live in an Overland Park, so I guess we're at odds."

Sorry, when a city outgrows the roads, traffic becomes what we now have on 23rd every day, especially from 4-7pm. Your "laid-back" town isn't laid-back anymore and the SLT will give people an option to get around town, significantly easing the traffic on 23rd and protecting the small-town feel of Lawrence.

madameX 8 years, 7 months ago


that wasn't necessarily supposed to be an anti-SLT comment (more resarch of the issue pending) it was just supposed to be an anti-let's-become-all-homogenized-and boring comment, in response to the one above it.

whynaut 8 years, 7 months ago

I just hope they clean up that stagnant swamp in the process. What an eyesore! Sorry, but a 75mph speed limit is too slow to blur out that environmental abomination. Clean it up and evict the disease-ridden nuisances that inhabit it.

notyourmom 8 years, 7 months ago

Thank goodness we are not like Overland Park!! What with their smooth roads, job opportunities and lack of homeless people.

puddleglum 8 years, 7 months ago

the great invictus-i mean santini... how come you got booted?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

NOT sensible growth = Higher Taxes

NOT sensible growth has been rightly blamed for many things: destroying green space, increasing air and water pollution, fracturing our neighborhoods and forcing us to drive gridlocked roads for every chore. But there is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned NOT sensible growth is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

NOT sensible growth is the result of over five decades of subsidies paid for by the American taxpayer. These range from the obvious to the obscure and include big projects-like the billions we spend on new roads as well as smaller ones-like the tax-breaks that encourage businesses to move to the edge of town. We've subsidized NOT sensible growth at such a basic level for so long, that many people believe the status quo is actually fair and neutral. This is false-what we think of as a level playing field is tilted steeply in favor of NOT sensible development.

How we subsidize:

* building new and wider roads
* building schools on the fringe
* extending sewer and water lines to sprawling development
* extending emergency services to the fringe
* direct pay-outs to developers

How do we subsidize NOT sensible growth? Through an array of state, local and federal programs and through incentives built into the development process itself. The biggest federal contribution to NOT sensible growth is the billions of dollars spent on building new roads. Over the past 50 years, we have built almost 4 million miles of highways.

This massive network of roads has done more than speed us from point A to point B - it has reshaped the landscape by opening up rural areas to suburban NOT sensible growth and it has reshaped our society by making the car king. Travel by car has become not just another option-in too many places, it has become the only option.

For years we have subsidized construction in flood plains while making it far too easy to destroy critical wetlands. This encourages the destruction of open spaces and adds to the pressure not sensible growth.

Not sensible subsidies are also built into the development process itself. Most new, sprawling development costs more to build and service than the taxes or fees it generates. When a new residential or commercial development is built outside of an existing community, roads, sewer systems and water lines have to be built.

As the development expands, it requires schools and emergency services. Where does the money for all this come from? In most cases, neither the developers nor the NEW residents pay their full, fair share - it is the rest of us who make up the difference.

The bottom line is that NOT sensible development is costing taxpayers too money.

Eastside and/or older neighborhoods are subsidizing NOT sensible growth to our own demise and the demise of downtown

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

The most logical and fiscally responsible choice:

The new I-70 connectors off K-10 by Leavenworth, I-70 and the west leg of K-10 should all be toll roads and these together provide a loop around Lawrence thus eliminating any need for further construction of new pork barrel highway projects. Thus saving about $150,000,000(million) for us local taxpayers.

It also services: • Johnson and Douglas county traffic going to northwest Lawrence or Topeka. Or Lawrence and Topeka traffic going to JOCO. • the Eudora Business Park east of 1057. • East Hills Business Park and the southeast Lawrence industrial park. • the Lawrence airport. And it: • diverts traffic around the city. • keeps the SLT out of the wetlands. • reduces congestion for morning and afternoon commuters. • Douglas County taxpayers save millions upon millions of dollars. • Eliminates use of tax dollars. • Eliminates the need for an eastern bypass * Would not dump fast moving traffic off uncomfortably close to the congested city limits on to the K-10 speedway • allows KTA fees to pay for the highway and maintenance

lounger 8 years, 7 months ago

Im NOT granola I just think its a bad Idea!! Leave room for the animals and plants. So please just go sit in your wal-mart parking lots to get your fill of concrete (or asphalt, or whatever they make roads from these days). Cheers!

madameX 8 years, 7 months ago


Apology accepted, and glad you were joking too, cause I live in East Lawrence and I suspect my house is considerably more comfortable to live in than a parking lot ;)

Agreed that the town won't stay the same, that's kind of a function of life, but I chose to live here because I like the overall fabric of the community and I don't think it's necessary to sacrifice it in order to grow. You probably don't think so either, so i guess we're in agreement on that too.

estespark 8 years, 7 months ago

So Merrill's solution to not building a new road is to build a new road?

BigPrune 8 years, 7 months ago

26 September 2009 at 4:26 a.m. merrill (Anonymous) says…

"Hey instead of toilet paper why not encourage residential toilets with a douche. Then dry the butt with a towel. This would also prevent or reduce irritation.

A douche is a device used to introduce a stream of water into the body for medical or hygienic reasons.

This would reduce the need for toilet paper quite substantially.”

BigPrune 8 years, 7 months ago

Don't you realize "smart growth" is what killed this town? Quite frankly I want a backyard and I want to live in a house, not some congested apartment/condo complex that taxes our infrastructure on a much larger scale that is more likely to have higher crime and fire incidents - let alone some pandemic infesting possibilities.

quimby 8 years, 7 months ago

bankboy - no, i'm not "completely incorrect" about my assessment of the environmental harms of the portion of the SLT that been constructed. you say the excess time, gas, and pollution occurring b/c of a "congested" 23rd will be solved with the SLT? well, last time i checked "time" isn't an environmental concern. and, also last time i checked, gas will still be expended when cars/trucks use the SLT, which will lead to increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. not to mention the impacts to the established wetland ecosystem.

mr_right_wing 8 years, 7 months ago

Do it! If environmental nut-cases decide to make a human chain to prevent work from starting; bulldoze them! We'll set up a little flower memorial for 'em later. I guess we could also erect a little memorial for the loss of a mosquito breeding ground. Get outta the way tree-huggers, here comes progress!

GmaD321 8 years, 7 months ago

They have been trying to build this thing for YEARS! It will never go thru as the lawsuits, if not won will at least keep it stalled out. They should have known about the opposition before they built the first part of it. The 'Powers that Be' in Lawrence thought they could bully their way thru and get it done. That's not gonna happen. I would love to see it go thru as it would make my personal driving to and from work a whole lot easier but I just don't see it happening.

remember_username 8 years, 7 months ago

As I recall many of the complaints regarding the 32st alignment originated with the Haskell community. So I thought I'd add something I thought interesting.

From Sen. Sam Brownback on the Native American Apology Resolution passed in the Senate today -

“The Senate’s action today is a big step for the relationship between the federal government and Native Americans,” said Brownback. “The resolution seeks reconciliation and offers an official apology to Native Americans for the hurtful choices the federal government made in the past. With this resolution we acknowledge previous failures and express sincere regrets.” (El Dorado Times)

And from Sen Sam Brownback in Nov. 7th 2007 -

"We are pleased the Federal Highway Administration agreed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision that the 32nd street route is the only feasible and prudent option for the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT)." (US Fed News Service)

altarego 8 years, 7 months ago

This is great news for the new Hooters out on the SLT!

lounger 8 years, 7 months ago

Sad comments by sad people! LEAVE THE WETLANDS ALONE YOU MONGRELS!!!

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