Douglas County residents interested in the future of the area surrounding U.S. Highway 40 and the K-10 interchange turned out Thursday evening to get their questions answered during an informal open house.
The area transportation plan, which involves the county, city and Kansas Department of Transportation, will work to gather information about the potential for future development before recommending improvements to accommodate that growth. The plan also aims to address traffic flow and safety issues in the area.
Mitchell Walther, who helps maintain Christmas tree farms west of Lawrence, attended the evening meeting to find out what was going to change and when the change would happen.
“At least they’re getting a jump on it instead of waiting until the last minute,” Walther said. “We always knew there would be expansion, I think it’ll be good.”
The dozens of residents who attended the meeting Thursday also had the opportunity to get their questions answered by professionals involved with the planning process. Maps denoting traffic flow, environmental areas and plans for future land use all helped to clarify the area’s growth opportunities.
There are currently no set plans for what improvements would be made, but some suggestions include the addition of turn lanes, traffic signals and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Potential land uses include residential, commercial, office and light industrial.
KDOT will continue working with the county, city and Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization in developing the plan. The plan must be adopted and funding must be found before any construction would take place. There is currently no timeline for that process, but KDOT spokeswoman Kim Qualls said some short-term projects may be able to move ahead more quickly.