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Archive for Monday, October 4, 2010

North Lawrence interchange along Kansas Turnpike to reopen Wednesday morning

This aerial view looks at ongoing reconstruction of the Kansas Turnpike’s East Lawrence interchange, which is Exit 204 in North Lawrence. This view looks southwest across the site, with North Third Street cutting across the top of the photo, with the I-70 Business Center at the top of the frame. The interchange is scheduled to reopen for traffic on Wednesday, a month ahead of schedule.

This aerial view looks at ongoing reconstruction of the Kansas Turnpike’s East Lawrence interchange, which is Exit 204 in North Lawrence. This view looks southwest across the site, with North Third Street cutting across the top of the photo, with the I-70 Business Center at the top of the frame. The interchange is scheduled to reopen for traffic on Wednesday, a month ahead of schedule.

October 4, 2010

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Six months of waiting finally ends Wednesday morning for drivers who enter and exit the Kansas Turnpike in North Lawrence.

Turnpike exit to open Wednesday

Turnpike exit 204 will open Wednesday a month ahead of schedule. Area businesses hope the completion of the project will bring business back to the area. Enlarge video

A rebuilt Plaza 204 interchange will reopen in two phases, said Rachel Bell, a turnpike spokeswoman:

• Entering traffic will be able to use the interchange beginning about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

• Exiting traffic will be able to use the interchange beginning about two hours later.

The interchange has been closed since early April for reconstruction, to add lanes, new toll booths and even automated equipment to reduce the need for in-person toll transactions.

“I’ve been out making personal contacts with the businesses, and I’ve received many hugs, high fives and squeals of joy,” said Rex Fleming, the turnpike’s project engineer. “As far as being project manager, this is a fun day. Everybody really appreciates it.”

The project’s general contractor, Perry-based Hamm Cos., is finishing the job nearly a month ahead of schedule.

“We are fortunate to have an experienced partner in Hamm’s who understands the importance of our construction schedule and who shares our dedication in limiting the inconvenience to our customers as much as possible,” said Michael Johnston, the turnpike’s president and CEO.

The work is part of an ongoing overhaul of the turnpike as it passes through Lawrence. The overall $130 million project includes replacement of bridges over the Kansas River. For more information, visit SpanningtheFuture.com.

The work is not part of another traffic-disrupting project: reconstruction of turnpike lanes east of Lawrence, which continues to limit travel to one lane in each direction between Plaza 204 and the Lawrence Service Area.

By contract, Hamm is scheduled to have all four lanes of the turnpike back open for traffic by Nov. 11, Fleming said.

“The weather’s been good,” Fleming said. “I’m confident we’ll make that time.”

Work then will resume in the spring, this time rebuilding turnpike lanes from the service area east, to a point about one mile west of the Tonganoxie/Eudora interchange, known as Plaza 212.

Comments

Tammy Copp-Barta 4 years, 2 months ago

WOW!! A project ending AHEAD of schedule .. what a concept!!

Thanks for the hard work guys and gals!! We are happy to have our exchange back up and running!!

Ignorant_Yokel 4 years, 2 months ago

meanwhile, the Motel 6 awaits its return to glory.

oldtimer39 4 years, 2 months ago

Why not hurry? It certainly won't bring those businesses fewer customers when it's reopened. In fact, they'll probably see more -- it's a convenient exit for downtown, football traffic and commuters.

gatekeeper 4 years, 2 months ago

I live in N. Lawrence and I since they closed the interchange, all the businesses seem less busy. I'm sure they'll be happy to have the it open again. I would question what businesses you're talking about, Corky. I can tell you the amount of traffic is much less than it used to be, which has to hurt business.

The hurry - lots of cars use that interchange and we're looking forward to it being open again.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 2 months ago

and I really doubt that most of their business comes in from the turnpike. I'd wager that 99.99% of all their customers would have come in on N.3rd or in from downtown regardless of a turnpike exit.

But businesses like Burger King, the gas stations, Sonic, and Motel 6, are losing out big time.

gatekeeper 4 years, 2 months ago

Take it from someone that lives in N. Lawrence and has for the last decade - those businesses do get a lot of clientel from the turnpike. In between Topeka and KC, it's the easiest exit to stop and get a bite to eat or gas (unless you want to pay higher prices and stop at the gas station on the turnpike, past Lawrence). Believe it or not, you sometimes have to wait in line at the gas station and wait at Sonic when the exits are open because it DOES get business from commuters on I-70. And, there are plenty of people that used to take the exit coming home from KC and now use the Iowa exit. Did you ever think they might gas up when they used the N. Lawrence exit?

GUMnNUTS 4 years, 2 months ago

It seems like it has been longer than six months. I stopped using the turnpike to head to K.C. because K-10 was faster than driving to the west Lawrence interchange. I am sure that all the affected buisnesses are happy that Exit 204 is back up and running.

Wayne Propst 4 years, 2 months ago

UNLIKE the RD Johnson co. North 2 nd and Locust project that was one year late........ The Turnpike workers show up ever day.....It's not called johnson Co. for no reason......stimulus package indeed..........

Kontum1972 4 years, 2 months ago

may i put a sculpture in the center of that roundabout circle?

Lawrence2000 4 years, 2 months ago

The turnpike being closed did not work out so well for the Harley-Davidson store and others. Combine the North Second re-route and the turnpike closing, it is has been a tough year for North Lawrence. Any hugs or high fives being given out by businesses were out of relief that they are still in business. Why would everyone really appreciate getting back to where they were as far as access? They would have been appreciative if the Turnpike could have found a way to complete their project without closing a major access point to the city and their businesses.

“I’ve been out making personal contacts with the businesses, and I’ve received many hugs, high fives and squeals of joy,” said Rex Fleming, the turnpike’s project engineer. “As far as being project manager, this is a fun day. Everybody really appreciates it.”

Kris_H 4 years, 2 months ago

Gods, no, Kontum, don't put a distraction in the middle of a thing that 75% of Kansas drivers can't figure out in the first place! :D

RaverK 4 years, 2 months ago

Oh MY, is that a Traffic Circle - a Roundabout in the interchange... Whoooie the KDOT engineers can go to their next Convention and show off the latest cutting edge roundabout design... (is there a wager board for the first accident or fatality for confused motorists)... And how dangerous is the temporary ramps over at West Lawrence US 59??? At least they are spending money outside of Topeka for a change... (huge interchanges for low traffic volumes, highways to casinos...) Thank God for the ARRA to get death trap urban highways improved like US 69...

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