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October 18, 2009

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Last week a Kansas Department of Transportation official was quoted in the Journal-World saying he thought chances looked good for the long delayed South Lawrence Trafficway project to be ranked “fairly high” in the upcoming overall ranking of KDOT projects.

Douglas County and Lawrence leaders were briefed on the project, but cautioned that funds were tight and there was no assurance state legislators would approve the money needed to fund planning and construction costs.

While cautious, Lawrence Mayor Rob Chestnut also said he thought the project was moving ahead and that “at this point it is really forcing the issue.”

The next day, KDOT officials announced their ranking of projects for future urban highway improvements. Completion of the SLT, an estimated $150 million project, was No. 5 in KDOT’s top five state projects. The top four were all located in Wyandotte and Johnson counties. The SLT would extend the existing trafficway for seven miles between U.S. Highway 59 at the southeastern edge of the city east to Kansas Highway 10.

A KDOT official was pleased with the SLT’s No. 5 ranking, saying that it proves the project has local support, economic need and engineering justification.

The delay in finishing this badly needed and long delayed project is almost criminal in the tremendous increase in costs compared to the price tag if it had been completed when the western section of the trafficway was built. Several groups have successfully initiated questionable efforts to delay the project, raising issues and concerns that opponents claim would result in damages to Haskell Indian Nations University, the environment and Baker Wetlands. Those questions have already been answered.

It’s good to learn completion of the trafficway is among the top priorities of KDOT and this news should cause local officials to increase their efforts to push the project closer to construction. The need for the roadway grows more intense month by month and it has been delayed far too long. The SLT’s proposed route, just south and parallel to West 31st Street, is the best and favored location and it is time for city and county officials, along with leaders of the Kansas University Endowment Association, which owns a small piece of property along the proposed path, to renew and increase their efforts to secure funding for the trafficway.

The old story pointing out how the U.S. mail would never get delivered if the postman stopped his route for each barking dog is a clear example of what has happened to the SLT project for far too many years.

Comments

infidel 5 years, 10 months ago

I do hope it gets done, the sooner the better.

grimpeur 5 years, 10 months ago

Why 32nd St? Oh, yeah, nobody has ever said why this is the preferred route. Nor is it clear who prefers this route.

Take it SOR and build it now. These unnecessary delays are the result of questionable groups insisting on the 32nd St alignment. If these groups would drop their pointless resistance to a sensible alignment--one that will serve the future residents of this city between the Wakarusa and N1000 Rd. instead of a bunch of mosquitos in land that can't be developed--the damn thing could have been built already.

Would it be possible to have a more myopic and disingenuous editorial on this? It appears not. There has never, ever been a compelling rationale given for the 32nd St. alignment, with the exception of the bridge build to force the issue.

BigPrune 5 years, 10 months ago

The 32nd Street alignment was decided through common sense and fiscal responsibility. A further south SLT will cost far more, require additional bridges, and historically development gravitates towards major highways creating sprawl.

It really was an unconvoluted and sensible decision, unlike the further south alignment. Intelligence and common sense plus the will of the people through a public vote that passed 15-20 years ago will prevail. Time to start suing the suers.

cato_the_elder 5 years, 10 months ago

JackRipper, I believe you're correct. As far as I can tell, they no longer appear.

doc1 5 years, 4 months ago

Jack your an idiot. We need the SLT. It shouldn't take upwards of 30 minutes to drive down 23rd street on busy days. There is too much traffic in this town and plenty of it would be bypassing 23rd Street of they could.

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