Archive for Friday, February 26, 2010

Interchange closure a ‘business decision’

The east Lawrence Kansas Turnpike interchange will close for several months for updates and lane additions.

February 26, 2010


Closing an interchange in North Lawrence may be a “business decision” for the Kansas Turnpike, but it’s a decision that will be certain to affect a much smaller business run by Brett Sullivan.

Sullivan figures he’ll lose 10 to 15 percent of his sales at the Presto convenience store at 1030 N. Third St. — one of four such stores in Lawrence and 10 overall that he supervises — once the so-called East Lawrence interchange around the corner closes April 5.

The expected drop in revenues and traffic will come on top of the 25 percent he’s already missed out on since August, when contractors for the city of Lawrence started rebuilding the nearby intersection of North Second and Locust streets — a project that’s expected to continue detouring area traffic through the end of next month and to continue with less-disruptive work into August.

“Hopefully, when it’s all said and done, it’ll be worth it,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan joined several dozen business owners, employees and others who attended informational meetings Thursday in North Lawrence, where turnpike officials explained their plans and offered information about what to expect during the coming seven months and beyond.

Bottom line: Rebuilding the interchange is an “integral part” of an ongoing $130 million overhaul of the turnpike as it passes through Lawrence, including the replacement of Kansas River bridges, said Michael Johnston, the turnpike’s president and CEO.

The interchange, which is Exit 204, will be rebuilt from the ground up. Two lanes will be added to handle more traffic, and new ramps will be built to improve traffic flow in conjunction with the new river bridges.

Keeping the interchange open during reconstruction was considered, Johnston said, but that would have extended the project by a year — adding to project costs and driver disruptions.

“I think businesspeople understand the kind of choices that we have to make because, at the end of the day, it’s a business decision for us as well,” Johnston said. “I think the businesspeople understand that better than anybody.”

One more business decision: Hamm Inc., the project’s general contractor, has until Nov. 1 to get the interchange back open or else face fines of $10,000 a day.


local_support 8 years, 2 months ago

While I certainly sympathize with Mr. Sullivan perhaps this would be a good time to renovate his place of business. On the occasions that I have stopped there the line to pay the cashier is ridiculously long regardless of the time of day.

I have never been able to figure out why this is the case. (and I have worked many service jobs including fueling stations) The staff is always friendly which is a big plus in my book but I'm really looking for one thing when I hit this convenience store --- and that is convenience.

I hope construction stays on track and that Mr. Sullivan is able to get his establishment back where it needs to be on the revenue side of things as soon as possible.

Steve Miller 8 years, 2 months ago

There should be a subsidy implimented for the local economy. People in charge of these "delayed" projects that basically have the local economy paying for it out the @$$. Let some of that stimulas money go and help us out in the "north land" . They ought to make north lawrence a seperate town, rename it . Then maybe there would be some financial subsidies made available.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 2 months ago

Why are we still dealing with tollway interchanges - the stopping and starting, the lines, the fumbling for change, the extra costs to family budgets?

sherbert 8 years, 2 months ago

And when the turnpike was voted in, didn't it have a toll deadline on it. Funny how they decided they needed that money and would just continue to charge it.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 2 months ago


Reasonable people agree that carpooling, mass transit, more walking and the use of diverse energy sources can all be good for society. However, your predictions about transportation in America are not based in reality - unless you believe in cold fusion, magic carpets or teleportation.

Additionally, referring to those of us who use automobiles, even periodically, as having a "car-fetishism" is perplexing, to put it mildly. If the 80% of Americans in the middle were to evaluate your views based on your comments, you would easily fall into the 10% fringe category. That's not necessarily bad, and I don't mean that as an insult, but you've got to understand how your comments look to the rest of us.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 2 months ago

Face it. We have a road system modeled after a McDonald's drive through window. It's embarrassing, and the tollway (complete with its multi-million dollar interchanges) needs to go.

Beobatcher, Saying "if you don't like turnpike, don't use it" is an unreasonable and naive suggestion considering the tollway covers hundreds of miles of our nation's interstate system. It's no accident that our government approved a tollroad connecting four of our state's largest cities.

Try traveling east on the tollway when there's a race at the Kansas Speedway. I-70 becomes a parking lot. Perhaps the long line of cars at Lawrence interchanges on KU game days will embarrass just a few more of us into opposing our Kansas tollway boondoggle.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 2 months ago

Business owners locate next to public highways for the profit.

Improvement of those public highways is inevitable. The newspaper articles written about these situations are formulaic.

These business owners will profit from us once again after the improvements.

The owner of these stations, Terry Presta, owns stations all over Kansas and lives in a quite nice home in Johnson County. He is doing quite well, thank you, despite this inconvenience. There is a long line of people to be concerned about before worrying about Presto Oil.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 2 months ago

I would support the current funding mechanism that pays for the 99.9% of our roads that are not tollways.

I'll add that it would be difficult for the government to create a more inefficient, expensive and unfair means of maintaining a public infrastructure than tollways.

It's time to end the mid-interstate transactions, sell the toll plaza machines, and provide some much needed transportation equity for those of us unlucky enough to live along the tollway.

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