Archive for Monday, September 7, 2009

Funding for new traffic signals at SLT stalls

Turn lanes and traffic signals deemed necessary on the South Lawrence Traffic way are slow in coming. Funding for the project is currently uncertain, delaying the project's progression.

September 7, 2009


The Kansas Department of Transportation wants to install traffic signals at the South Lawrence Trafficway and U.S. Highway 40.

The department needs to install traffic signals at the intersection, judging by a traffic study conducted earlier this year.

But it can’t — at least not yet.

“At this point in time we are aware of what we can do there — what needs to be done — however, there is no funding at this point to do a project there,” said Kim Qualls, a KDOT spokeswoman. “So we’re just kind of on hold.”

The signal project isn’t the only job idling in the Docking State Office Building.

KDOT leaders in Topeka already have put off accepting bids for an estimated $28.8 million interchange for Kansas Highway 7 at Johnson Drive/55th Street in Shawnee, blaming a financing squeeze. That’s because KDOT isn’t sure how much money it will get — if any — from the federal government once the federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The project envisioned for the trafficway at Sixth Street isn’t even close to being as far along, but KDOT officials are convinced upgrades will be needed:

• Dedicated turn lanes on each exit ramp, for traffic turning left and right.

• Traffic signals on both sides of the U.S. Highway 40 bridge that crosses the trafficway, particularly to handle traffic heading onto U.S. 40 from both directions.

• Other “geometric” improvements as necessary. “It’s not just a matter of installing signals,” Qualls said.

Chuck Soules, director of public works for the city of Lawrence, didn’t need to see study results to be convinced that signals would be needed. Signals already have been installed to the east along Sixth Street: at Congressional Drive, near Walmart; and at Stoneridge Drive, activated a month ago.

Others are planned at Queens Road and at George Williams Way.

“We’re trying to build improvements to meet future needs and demands,” Soules said, listing off a series of nearby residential and commercial developments — including Mercato, Oregon Trail, the Links, Diamondhead and Aberdeen — that will be expected to add plenty of vehicles to an already busy stretch of road.

Such developments will be expected to add traffic to the intersection, where cars already back up during the evening rush hour as Lawrence residents return home from Topeka using the Kansas Turnpike, whose Lecompton interchange empties onto the trafficway and funnels vehicles back into town.

“It backs down that exit ramp, and the concern is: If it ends up backing onto K-10, you’ve got 65, 70 miles-per-hour traffic coming up to people who are stopped, waiting to get off,” Soules said. “It’s a potential safety issue.”

KDOT hasn’t attached any cost estimates to the anticipated interchange work, Qualls said. Officials want to learn how much money they can expect from the federal government before starting to set priorities for spending it.

“It’s definitely going to be needed there,” Qualls said. “It’s going to be a matter of funding, essentially.”


KS 8 years, 6 months ago

You know, if the State of Kansas would use 100% of the gasoline tax money for its intended purpose, ie: road construction, traffic lights, etc. instead of putting part of it into the general fund and using it for social programs, they would not have this problem. Don't blame KDOT on that one, it is the legislature and gov.

BigPrune 8 years, 6 months ago

Well said cheeseburger and KS!

I'm thinking about printing up a bumper sticker that says, "Finish the SLT!" Do you think anyone would buy one and how much?

RoeDapple 8 years, 6 months ago

How about a gigantic, multi-million dollar roundabout! Does the street repair fund have a couple of hundred thousand dollars left to pay for a feasibility study for that? Think of the benefits! Topeka thuggery would follow it around and return to Topeka, thoroughly relaxed with no need to shoot up the streets of Lawrence.



jonas_opines 8 years, 6 months ago

Roe, I've been thinking for quite some time that we should just build the Mother of All Roundabouts, maybe around Campus, and then the shopping districts and car dealerships can just circle around it.

bmwjhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

No kidding. ENOUGH with the lights. They new ones west of Wakarusa are all worthless... turning red for minutes to let ONE CAR go on a non-busy day... at least flash them yellow when they aren't needed, which is approximately 22 hours per day.

Useless, useless, useless.

BigPrune 8 years, 6 months ago

It's foggy outside. Think I'll shoot the square around Lawrence guaranteed to hit 90% of the red lights since the camera sensors are on safe mode - I am betting a 30-35 minute trip.

GardenMomma 8 years, 6 months ago

I guess I haven't been out there lately, but is there REALLY all that much traffic on those exit ramps? Last time I drove them, there were two lanes (one for cars turning left and one for cars turning right) on both ramps - the one from the Turnpike and the one from K10. At least there was room for two cars side by side, there was sure room for the big ol' SUV next to me, turning left and blocking my view.

Seriously, is there that much traffic out there for lights on all those intersections? Of course, they'll be timed just perfectly so if you go the speed limit you can hit either all the green lights or all the red lights, right???

persevering_gal 8 years, 6 months ago

lol @ cheeseburger

Well said, my friend! Usually takes me a good 20-30 minutes to get out of this town! Yellow lights in Lawrence do not mean start coming to a stop, it means, "Lets get at least 5 more cars through even if the light turns red!"

hartk678 8 years, 6 months ago

I think it needs a diverging diamond.

Practicality 8 years, 6 months ago

Hmmm, you know who would really like to comment on this post, but can't, don't ya?

puddleglum 8 years, 6 months ago

no practicality, who?

cheeseburger nailed it. all of these stoplights west of wakarusa are completely worthless. who is getting the contract for all of these un-needed/wanted traffic lights? I bet the cost a pretty penny and I bet the installation costs a prettier penny. 6th & stoneridge should be flashing yellow 24/7 and so should the wal-mart intersection at 6th & congressional. making 20 cars stop so that bubba can save 29 cents on his toilet paper is both unsafe and extremely wasteful. all those cars and trucks sitting at 6th & congressional along US40 stopped so one car can cross the wal-mart a freakin off ramp for all I care-just end the madness!

KS 8 years, 6 months ago

After reading the posts, herein, it sort of looks like some folks are starting to wake up to the reality of just sitting at stop lights and burning up $2.50 per gallon gas. Roundabouts are the way to go. No stopping and no paying Westar for energy to burn a darn light 24 hours a day and some city/state worker to maintian them, replace bulbs, etc. Just sort of dumb.

compmd 8 years, 6 months ago

How about we fix the existing roads that suck and damage cars before embarking on new traffic adventures?

Thats_messed_up 8 years, 6 months ago

Seamus wrote cheeseburger— if the town were really green everyone would be riding their bicycles and/or using the T. Apparently owning a Prius and buying produce flown in from Mexico at the Merc makes you a “green” person. I guess it's really the thought that counts. Great Post Seamus I guess Lawrence drivers can't use a stop sign. Lawrence will never be considered a “green” city as long they refuse to build the SLT thereby strangling traffic for thousands and thousands of northeast Kansas commuters every day. The greenhouse emissions from 20,000 to 40,000 vehicles idling, starting and stopping, idling , starting and stopping 20 times over— twice a day just to get through Liberal Paradise Lawrence is many many times more than if those same vehicles cruised around Lawrence through open fields of mud and mosquitoes at 65mph without ever stopping once. Also the wear and tear of the large trucks on 23rd, haskell, 31st, iowa, etc. are the reason the roads all suck. Green city? What a joke!

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