KDOT’s top 5
Kansas Department of Transportation’s top priorities for future highway projects in urban areas:
1. Reconstruct the interchange at Interstate 70 and Kansas Highway 7, at Bonner Springs in Wyandotte County, $300 million.
2. Rebuild and add capacity in the area of Interstate 435, from U.S. Highway 69 to Quivira in Johnson County, $23 million.
3. Add capacity along U.S. 69, from 119th Street to I-435 in Johnson County, $250 million.
4. Rebuild and add capacity in the area along Interstate 435, from Interstate 35 to I-435 and Kansas Highway 10 in Johnson County, $600 million.
5. South Lawrence Trafficway, a new four-lane highway to run from U.S. 59 to K-10 in Douglas County, $150 million.
Completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway rates among the state’s top five priorities for future urban highway improvements, a list expected to form the basis for a proposed new highway program.
The estimated $150 million project ranked No. 5 on a list of 42 projects that would cost a combined $4.9 billion, the Kansas Department of Transportation disclosed Wednesday.
The list — along with a compilation of rural projects that would cost $5 billion — represents the culmination of three years worth of public meetings, engineering evaluations and economic analyses designed to create a plan for a future statewide transportation program. The Kansas Legislature will be expected to discuss possibilities in 2010.
The trafficway project would extend the existing highway for 7 miles between U.S. Highway 59 at the southern edge of Lawrence to Kansas Highway 10 near Noria Road, just southeast of town.
The project has long been absent from formal department plans, considering that it has not identified financing for construction. The project also faces a federal lawsuit, filed by plaintiffs whose objections include opposition to the highway’s planned route through the Baker Wetlands.
The No. 5 ranking shows that the project has local support, economic need and engineering justification, said Corky Armstrong, engineering manager for the department’s State Road Office.
“I think it shows there’s a lot of interest and a lot of need in doing the trafficway,” Armstrong said. “There’s a number of projects that are ranked a lot lower than that. Personally, I’m pretty pleased to see it that high.”
Also included on the list, at No. 16: $10 million to build an interchange where the existing trafficway would intersect with Bob Billings Parkway, in western Lawrence.
The list is by no means final. Officials plan to continue gathering public input as they push for a state transportation program. The next public meeting to discuss potential projects and the process for selecting them is set for 1 p.m. p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at the Ramada Inn in Topeka.