Archive for Monday, March 22, 2010

County Commission to consider waiving requirement for church to build turn lanes on Highway 40, west of Lawrence

March 22, 2010


New turn lanes on U.S. Highway 40 west of the South Lawrence Trafficway would just have to wait under a proposal up for consideration Wednesday by Douglas County commissioners.

The request, from First United Methodist Church, would allow the church to avoid installing turn lanes on the highway in front of its campus at 867 Highway 40, which is at the southwest corner of the trafficway and the rural extension of West Sixth Street.

Commissioners are scheduled to consider the request at their weekly meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.

The church stipulates that the lanes — originally approved by the Kansas Department of Transportation as part of the church’s plans for opening a preschool at the campus — are now unnecessary.

KDOT officials agree. Statistics show that expected traffic conflicts — both actual and potential — hadn’t materialized since the school opened in August 2007.

The lanes would cost at least $300,000, said Phil Struble, chairman of the church’s board of trustees.

Commissioner Jim Flory said he would like KDOT to consider reducing the speed limit in the area to 45 mph as a way to help increase safety in the area.

In other action Wednesday, commissioners will consider establishing new speed limits on three rural roads:

  • 40 mph along East 2300 Road, from U.S. Highway 56 to County Road 460.
  • 35 mph on North 400 Road, from County Road 1061 to East 2400 Road.
  • 45 mph along East 1900 Road, from North 1 Road to U.S. 56.


Sulla 8 years ago

Okay, then pay property taxes you big rich red brick church and render unto Caesar....

somebodynew 8 years ago

Well, they should have had to put the lanes in already. Actually, I think Wilbur has a good thought. The commission just started a study (or maybe the State) to look at traffic at that intersection, so I think the church is just wanting to wait to see if the County and State will include this in their plans to improve traffic flow. Bad, bad bad.

riverdrifter 8 years ago

Coming from the west at that location, I never liked it there & thought turning lanes were really needed. I'm predicting a big NASCAR-type pileup at some point. I don't go out that way anymore & don't have a dog in this hunt.

tankernav 8 years ago

This is an accident waiting to happen and unfortunately people will be badly injured or killed without turn lanes at this location. Coming home from the west about sunset last Fall, I barely avoided a four car accident where a car from the East was waiting to turn into the parking lot. With the turn at the top of the hill and the sunset obscuring traffic from the East, one car heading east took the ditch to miss the turning car and the next vehicle from the East unable to take the ditch, took the other side of the turning car which put his vehicle out of control and head on with me. I was far enough up the hill moving at 55mph to shoot off the road into the church parking area and missed the head on collision. It is just a matter of time that without turn lanes, somebody will not be so lucky.

LadyJ 8 years ago

Have to agree, have to stop constantly for people stopping to turn there.

somedude20 8 years ago

I guess now they have something more to pray about (please mighty sky monster dont let me get rear ended)

BMI 8 years ago

Imagine the outcry of the church goers, if the city hadn't approved turn lanes, and a family was killed while waiting to turn into the parking lot. Amazing Grace isn't going to sound very sweet at the funerals if they lose any because of this. For those involved, put that in your minds and THINK about it. You're going to be thinking, "These people died because we were too cheap to put in that turn lane." And you're going to think of it again, and again, and again. Forever and ever, Amen.

puddleglum 8 years ago

they don't have to pay anything

Jimo 8 years ago

Here's a thought -- if you don't pay taxes you can't petition government about a property issue.

Comm. Flory - how is inconveniencing the rest of the world a proper allocation of safety costs?

ralphralph 8 years ago

Wow. This seems like an unduly hostile discussion. I think they need the turn lanes, but not because the church is evil and wants you to die. It's just kind of a tough spot there, and likely will continue to be until a real highway emerges. The south shoulder already, sort-of by default, functions as an on & off ramp. Not so with the north side. I don't know what has been studied or what it shows, as to the traffic volume and sight lines and conflicts between turning and oncoming traffic, and that certainly would be informative. The more pertinent question for this area is whether US 40 should have been made into a modern roadway long ago. I remember driving it between Topeka and Lawrence and thinking it was one of the worst highways I've ever travelled on between two major (for our area) cities.
Like it or not, Lawrence is growing West and will continue to grow West. That being the case, 40 needs to be a real highway, which means that it needs to be 4-lanes or at least 3-lanes with a center turn lane and adequate shoulders. If that were done, the whole issue would be moot. The alternative is to do it "Topeka-Style", where you let the growth happen and then come in and try to build roads around it (not to mention year-long roundabout projects).
KDOT needs to buck up and widen the road out to at least the Stull corner.

Scruggsy 8 years ago

ralphralph- I agree that 40 is functionally obsolete for today's traffic volumes, but with the state budget problems, there is no way for KDOT to "buck up and widen the road" for a long while. Maintenance is being cut back severely, and will need to be paid for at some point in the future, when the roads will be hammered and need more repairs. To widen/ straighten/ flatten that highway even to Stull Rd would be a huge project. Hopefully the existing road doesn't fall apart by the time there is money in the budget for such a project...

If the church had an agreement requiring them to build the turn lanes, they should be made to build them...

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