Turnpike ramp opens today at Exit 202

A new ramp for drivers heading toward Topeka enters service today at the Kansas Turnpike’s West Lawrence interchange.

Directional signs at the interchange, which is Exit 202, will steer drivers onto the longer ramp, part of an ongoing $130 million construction project that includes construction of new bridges over the Kansas Turnpike.

Later this month crews plan to make an even bigger traffic change: All traffic heading west through Lawrence will be directed onto a new turnpike bridge, built just north of the two existing bridges.

A week after that switch is made, the turnpike’s eastbound traffic also will be shifted onto the new bridge, said Rachel Bell, a turnpike spokeswoman.

Once all traffic is on the new bridge, crews will start removing the existing bridges — whose steel structures are to be blasted by year’s end — so that a second new span can be built in their place.