Archive for Monday, November 21, 2011

State to contact Lawrence property owners about purchasing right-of-way land for completion of South Lawrence Trafficway

The state is looking to purchase land to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway. Environmental groups are hoping to block the completion of the project.

The state is looking to purchase land to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway. Environmental groups are hoping to block the completion of the project.

November 21, 2011


Related document

South Lawrence Trafficway ( .PDF )

Court date set for SLT lawsuit

A lawsuit filed over the planned completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway has been set for oral argument before three appeals court judges.

The oral arguments are scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 19 at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse in Denver.

Several groups opposing the trafficway’s completion have asked the court to stop construction on the project, saying the Federal Highway Administration and the Kansas Department of Transportation violated federal law by choosing a route through the Baker Wetlands.

State transportation officials soon will contact about 60 Lawrence property owners to begin the process of buying right-of-way to complete the controversial South Lawrence Trafficway.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced Monday that it plans to begin staking out needed parcels within the next few weeks. The announcement is the most tangible sign yet that the state is optimistic it can overcome a legal challenge and begin construction on the $150 million bypass project in fall 2013.

“We’re trying to be as efficient and as responsible with public money as we can,” said Josh Powers, a spokesman for KDOT. “If we waited, the project would have to be delayed and those costs would rack up really quickly.”

The uncompleted trafficway — the final six-mile leg would run from south of 33rd and Iowa streets to the intersection of Kansas Highway 10 and Noria Road east of Lawrence — is the subject of a federal lawsuit. The state has won a ruling finding that the project has the necessary permits to build the road through the Baker Wetlands.

But opponents have filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals arguing the permit process was flawed and the road should not be allowed in the wetlands.

Powers said the state is prepared to begin purchasing property before the outcome of that appeal is decided. The attorney for the trafficway opponents questioned that approach on Monday.

“It puts them in a situation where they have to accept that they may be throwing resources at purchases that will never result in any benefit,” said Topeka attorney Bob Eye. “It is their decision to make, but it seems that the prudent approach is to take this in the order it presents itself, which is to let the legal issues be resolved first.”

The state doesn’t yet have an estimate for how much the right-of-way purchases may cost. Powers said moving ahead with the right-of-way purchases was the most prudent course the state could take to avoid increased construction costs related to unnecessary construction delays. For example, when it was announced this summer that the project would receive funding, it was estimated to be a $192 million project. But that was based on the road being built in 2016. By moving the project to a 2014 completion, it is now estimated to be a $150 million project.

“If we do not prevail in the lawsuit, we would have land that we would have to look at in terms of what the next steps are for the project,” Powers said. “But those costs are certainly outweighed by what the costs would be if the project were delayed.”

Powers said KDOT sent letters on Monday to owners who have property in the proposed route of the trafficway. The state soon will follow up with the owners to gain permission to enter their properties to drive stakes to show how much property they would need to purchase.

Both the property owners and the state will have appraisals done on the property, and then the state will begin negotiating with owners in the summer. Like all public highway projects, the state can ultimately use the power of eminent domain to purchase the property against the wishes of the property owner.

Powers said it currently does not appear that any residential structures will need to be purchased as part of the project. But it appears likely that at least two business buildings near the intersection of 31st and Haskell could be required to move. In addition to building a four-lane trafficway, the project also will include moving parts of Haskell Avenue, Louisiana Street and 31st Street.


beerbaron03 6 years ago

just pave the wetlands and get it over with!

/tosses match onto pile of oily rags and slowly walks away.

thebigspoon 6 years ago

Grab the popcorn--this is gonna be a winner!

kernal 6 years ago

What does Brownback have to do with this?

blindrabbit 6 years ago

About time, the only part that messes up this story is consumer1's reference to Brownback. The environmental and Haskell sacred ground stories are smokescreens. I am a environmental type but to claim that as a reason is a red herring. In the early 1950's, I used to play and traverse the Haskell property! At that time there was no talk about environmental issues or sacred ground there; the property was a Haskell cattle operation with two little cross roads. The property occasionally shallowly flooded, but it was considered an inconvenience and not a desired wetland. As the area is now, it has become a valuable wetland, but the loss of proposed land to the bypass has been more than mitigated by added land west of Louisiana Street and work done by Ivan and Roger Boyd and Baker University.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Translation-- your knowledge and appreciation of history is extremely limited, for self-serving purposes.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

Rockchalk1977: It is hard for me to believe that you are apparently a college graduate based your sign-on and the continuing ignorance of your posts over a wide range of subjects.. As I recall from my KU experience, the 1970's were the low point of intelligent thinking at KU and may therefore explain your comments. Give us a sample of your intelligence! KU1962, Vietnam, KU1970.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

He opened his user account on April Fool's Day, did you notice that?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years ago

I can predict the future on this one, it's easy, and does not even require any psychic abilities:

No matter how it finally ends up, there are going to be some people that are really upset about it.

kernal 6 years ago

We've bickered enough over this. Unless a Meteor strikes and kills us all, it's time this be built.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

We've bickered enough over this. Unless a Meteor strikes and kills us all, it's time for this be built-- SOR or not at all.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

This why the the bridge nowhere is in existence. Politicians decided to spend all available money before a decision was rendered by the court. The property along the way cost taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars per acre in some cases. Otherwise it was $10k,$20k and up per acre.

Guess who owns a lot of right of way? The local real estate giants. Brownback wants those campaign bucks and the real estate executives walk away with lots of our tax dollars. Will the state pay inflated prices? Of course.

Is this in effect a taxpayer bailout of the local real estate industry?

ignatius_j_reilly 5 years, 12 months ago

The article explained why they might be inclined to start spending money without legal assurance in hand -- inflation, rising costs, construction on hold. It's weird, but wasting money on some right-of-way stuff that never gets used can be a better play than wasting even more on construction/contracting/contract/economy considerations.

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

"But it appears likely that at least two business buildings near the intersection of 31st and Haskell could be required to move."

Why did the people locate in this location?

ljwhirled 6 years ago

The wetlands are an important local asset, an ecosystem that needs to be loved and cherished.

I propose we cherish it by putting down several feet of fill dirt, and gravel and then putting a steel re-enforced road bed over the top.

I will enjoy viewing the wetlands at 65 MPH (make that 75 MPH) every day on my way to work.

Pave the wetlands!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

And I bet you'll spit on the Indian graves out there every time you go by.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 12 months ago

Oh bozo, you always bring your special sort of hatred to a conversation.

ljwhirled 6 years ago

Pave Them, Then.......Pave Over The Pavement.

ljwhirled 6 years ago

And When You Are Done Paving Over The Pavement........

Pave Over The Second Pavement With More Pavement.

ljwhirled 6 years ago

Also..........the proposed route does not run over any cemeteries. Stop spreading lies about this project.

Focus your effort on true injustice here in town.

Doug Compton getting taxpayer funds for improvements on/near his projects. He is simply going to spend the money on more zebras and sending his kid to Hawaii to party with the basketball team.

The Poehler building re-development getting $1.3M in taxpayer funds, while mental health treatment centers reduce the number of beds.

The Simons Family getting $160M for the local cable company and paying 15% on the capital gains. Meanwhile laying off 80+ locals who work at near minimum wage.

The city and the feds spending millions of dollars to enrich the Hetrick family out at Lawrence Municipal airport. These funds also benefit the wealth elite who can afford to purchase, maintain, insure and fuel a private airplane.

There are plenty of real problems in our town without the mindless opposition some locals have to this project.

Shoot, even Haskell has serious problems. Want to focus and a real native american issue? Look at the graduation rate at Haskell and start thinking of better ways to keep those kids in school through the end of their program.

tsmjcc 5 years, 12 months ago

your wright about compton they are picketing him down town wright now get him, then get rid of him,unfaithful to his wife lies to get city approvals and dumps 5 barrells of oil under his parking lot on north iowa,saw it happen,there epa go to work.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

Yep, those are real issues.

But just because this one gives you five minutes of convenience doesn't make it any less of one to those who don't share your need for it, at someone else's expense.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

“If we waited, the project would have to be delayed and those costs would rack up really quickly.”

What costs? What makes them go up?

"For example, when it was announced this summer that the project would receive funding, it was estimated to be a $192 million project. But that was based on the road being built in 2016. By moving the project to a 2014 completion, it is now estimated to be a $150 million project."

So they're saying that there's going to be 11% inflation between 2014 and 2016? Do they really know something about economic conditions a couple years down the line or are they just pulling numbers out of their arses, as usual?

ljwhirled 6 years ago

It costs money to have a project like this delayed. Gas prices go up, wages go up, companies contracted for work sit idle, but still need to be paid.

Time = Money. If you don't understand this, you probably don't own/operate a business.

Build it now. Now, now, now. It has been 20 years. Just @#$ build the @#$! thing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

All you did was throw out more baseless assertions. None of what you listed would add up to the 11% annual inflation that their figures would require.

But this is typical of projects like this-- voodoo economics to justify throwing more money down the highway construction hole.

sad_lawrencian 6 years ago

It's about time they finished that highway!

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

No one said it would be finished. Brownback wants to blow tax dollars because he is not a fiscal conservative. It is a reckless approach indeed.

ljwhirled 6 years ago

Merrill - It isn't about Sam. This is a project that benefits a lot of folks in West Lawrence, both progressive and conservative.

I'm sorry that some folks out east don't like it, but tough. You guys got the rec center at 15th and Haskell, you got the Library at 8th and Mass St. Heck, you got Mass St. You got the new arts center at 850 New Hampshire.

You got South Park, the River Trails, easy access to Kansas City by both K-10 and I-70.

You have mature tree cover, rich historical homes, Prairie Park, the County Jail, the Law Enforcement Center, City Hall, the County Courthouse. You got Haskell University.

Can we please have a a @#$*ing road? Is that too @#$ing much to ask?

coloradoan 6 years ago

Thanks for clarifying this lj.

"This is a project that benefits a lot of folks in West Lawrence, both progressive and conservative."

So, a bunch of folks who wanted to live in trendy west Lawrence and work in Johnson County expect the taxpayers to subsidize their lifestyle choice by building a road specifically to ease their commuting burdens. Now that's what we're talkiing about.

As for the amenities that you list in East Lawrence, those were available to you, but you chose to live out west, and now complain that these are not available to ya?

I chose to live ten blocks from work, and while the neighborhood sucks, it beats driving all day. I certainly don't expect a taxpayer-subsidized improvement to my neighborhood to enhance my choice. Get over yourself, and either move to JoCo, or deal with the commute that you apparently chose.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 12 months ago

It's just fine to fund a bunch of freeloaders transportation with the empT at the taxpayers expense, not to forget the new library when everything is going digital, and the other money pits that those on the left demand.

Remember, those who demand the most from the system are usually the one who put the least into it.

ignatius_j_reilly 5 years, 12 months ago

I wasn't going to respond, but man you sure have a lot of hatred for others. Makes me want to join in here.

"I certainly don't expect a taxpayer-subsidized improvement to my neighborhood to enhance my choice."

What about that list ljwhirled posted? Most of those are taxpayer funded -- you're welcome for your neighborhood amenities!

Have you considered people might want to live in "trendy west Lawrence" to live closer to Manhattan, Topeka, Wichita? Not everyone has an inferiority complex to JoCo like you.

You say your "neighborhood sucks," yet others were unwise to not move in? How does that logic work?

This whole back-and-forth is wrongminded anyway. It seems to me more like a us vs. them scenario, where the rest of the state would like a way to more conveniently get AROUND Lawrence. Has nothing to do with who loves which side of Lawrence.

pinecreek 5 years, 12 months ago

Can we please have a a @#$*ing road? Is that too @#$ing much to ask?

In this instance with this plan and this cost...yes it is too much to ask.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 12 months ago

I have a proposal: every time Merrill says "reckless" readers must take a drink. Also, readers must read the sentence in a Yoda voice.

Mike Ford 6 years ago

let's see....the supercommittee didn't reach a all kinds of automatic cuts will kick in....federal highway funding???? really???? trying to create a toll road out of the SLT freeloading TIF taking corporate welfare supporting people won't pay tolls on a road...heck you probably thought the Kansas Turnpike would be paid for and free at some point right? why pay taxes to support infrastructure? republicans would never do that...neither would the toilet paper people...

better yet if you get support to finish this racist miscarriage of a roadplan and bones and or grave sites are uncovered...your project will be abandoned with all that money wasted...the Washington Department of Transportation and the State of Washington paid the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe of Puget Sound $6 million in restitution and donated 8 acres of land to rebury the 400 or so proto historic and historic Klallam graves that were desecrated by a WADOT bridge pontoon project. This happened a couple of years ago and is documented in the book, "Breaking Ground" by Seattle Post Intelligencer reporter Lynda V. Mapes. Recently, at a residential boarding school in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, 200 or so graves were found on the campus of the former Mohawk Boarding School... racist as you all sound in your dismissals of indigenous concerns and with the ignorance you so willfully display with the casino comments, imagine how unapologetically racist your forebearers were one hundred years ago in the killing the Indian to save the man mentality. I've been to the Brantford, Ontario Mohawk residential school a couple of times and nothing shocks will be pouring that money down the drain like all of the White railroad promoters and government officials who stole lands in the 1850's to 1870's to create railroads like the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston, and Leavenworth, Pawnee, & Western, neither of which exist now. Future US Senator Samuel Pomeroy and future Kansas Governors Charles Robinson and Andrew Reeder both speculated on the profits of stolen tribal lands being transferred to startup railroads in 1850's-1860's Kansas...what makes Brownback any different?

Mike Ford 6 years ago

Canada: Mass Graves Discovered at Closed Mohawk 1 Month, 1 Week ago I guess this is how the church sought to "civilize" the natives??

Canada: Mass Graves Discovered at Closed Mohawk Institute Residential School October 11th, 2011

Mass graves of Mohawk children have been uncovered by ground-penetrating radar at the Mohawk Institute, a residential school for Mohawk operated by the Church of England and the Vatican before its closure in 1970.

According to Rev. Kevin Annett, Secretary of the International Tribunal for Crimes of Church and States (, the Mohawk Institute was “set up by the Anglican Church of England in 1832 to imprison and destroy generations of Mohawk children. This very first Indian [First Nations] residential school in Canada lasted until 1970, and, like in most residential schools, more than half of the children imprisoned there never returned. Many of them are buried all around the school.”

Preliminary scanning by ground penetrating radar adjacent to the now closed main building Mohawk Institute has revealed that “between 15-20 feet of soil” was brought in and put over the mass graves just before the Mohawk Institute closed in 1970 in order to camouflage the mass graves of Mohawk Children and avoid prosecution for genocide and crimes against humanity under the Geneva Conventions, the International Criminal Court, and cooperating national courts.

This is what White Christians did to Indians throughout the 19th century. It happened there and it happened here. I guess none of you doubting thomases read or do research do you??? what??? americans reading and admitting wrongdoings that persist to this day.....naw this didn't happen here....naw.....

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

Save ... the ... stump... (from a source)

Brian Hall 6 years ago

Why does Louisiana have to be relocated half a mile to the west? Why not call it Arkansas or South Naismith since that's what it aligns with according to the map? Why does 31st Street have to be realigned? Why does Haskell have to be realigned? Seems like a lot of extra work and construction that doesn't need to be done to me.

Kim Murphree 5 years, 12 months ago

I agree totally...alot of unnecessary work.

chootspa 5 years, 12 months ago

I'm confused on this part, too. If they're going to throw even more traffic into those two roads (Haskell and Louisiana), they do need to do something to make sure the residents can ever make a turn onto the road, so maybe that's the reason?

Mike Ford 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

skinny 5 years, 12 months ago

This has finally ran it course, it will be built!! Finally!

irvan moore 5 years, 12 months ago

is there a list of the property owners who will be receiving offers? i think it would be interesting to see a few of the names of those who will profit from this.

Kim Murphree 5 years, 12 months ago

Yes, sorry I missed your comment, as I posted the same thought below. This story is not complete without that list...follow the money is how you follow the politics.

FlawontheKaw 5 years, 12 months ago

There appears to be some kind of a mistake here. The road is not a trafficway at all. It is nothing more than a super long driveway. Straight from your house in wealth world right to Johnson County. How convenient.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 12 months ago

I knew when I saw this in the morning paper that this site would be set on fire. The anti-growth, anti-Doug Compton, anti, well....anti-anything that is needed in the community crowd would be here flaunching and flailing with all sorts of verbage about the building of this road through a flooded farmland that is also a public nusiance in violation of city ordnances. It never ceases to amaze me at the amount of fables, fraud, foolishness, and down right fraudulant positions can be manufactured about any issue that the tree-huggers and frog-kissers feel might be of benefit to the community. This anti-anything crowd, most recently occupants of the city park in some mindless notion that the people on Wall Street were paying attention, thrive here for some unknown reason. Perhaps it is because Lawrence is so well known nationally as a haven for the homeless, indigent and no-account populace that we see panhandling on Massachussetts Street. But now that the state has taken this stance, maybe in my lifetime I can see a viable transportation artery built that will relieve the traffic congestion and be of a great benefit to the community. And no, I will not sell my car and get a bicycle.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 12 months ago

Well, we know what you're "pro." -- you, at everyone else's expense.

Kim Murphree 5 years, 12 months ago

I just want to know who profits from this? Which developers? Which property owners? Following the money is how you follow the politics.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 12 months ago

A lot of people have a problem with prophets, because they don't believe in the Bible.

chootspa 5 years, 12 months ago

Dear LJW staff, Clicking on "enlarge photo" gets me to the same size of photo on a different page. I can't see any details on this picture at all.

FlawontheKaw 5 years, 12 months ago

Who are the "you people" in which you speak? I have a problem with them if they are garnered as the result of lying, cheating, stealing, scamming, lobbying, oppressing the poor, the weak, the young, the elderly, and anyone else, deserving of rights as a United States citizen, who are being victimized unduly.

IrishCat 5 years, 12 months ago

Would it be insanely selfish if I just asked for a huge mosquito net to be placed around my home? I moved to south Lawrence 15 years ago and in the spring and summer every time I go outside I hear a teeny tiny dinner bell going off with a whispering of "she's outside...let's EAT!"...Living there with the stagnant wetlands, sacred ground, potential driveway, whatever you want to call it, is full of blood sucking mosquitoes and I'm tired of being thought of as "plump white meat" when I come outside of my house. All sarcasm aside, I know this is a touchy subject for both sides of the fence, but seriously, we are being eaten alive down here and even industrial-strength bug spray won't stop them. I don't know enough about the politics/money and/or significant Native-American ground to comment, but on a purely selfish note, can something be done about the mosquitoes?

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 12 months ago

I think something can be done about the mosquitoes.

Hosing down the wetlands with a good heavy dose of DDT a couple times a week in the spring and summer should take care of the problem.

IrishCat 5 years, 12 months ago

I'm guessing me breathing in a couple of heavy doses of DDT each week would stop me from whining too yes?

jlzack 5 years, 12 months ago

It's about time they are finally going to get this built!!!!!

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 12 months ago

They should build it one lane with no shoulders and a stop light at hwy 59 and one at k10

Ewok79 5 years, 12 months ago

For god sakes just build it!!! There is NO efficant way to commute from west to east in this town. We probabily paid for it over the last ten year of pi$$ing & whining, by paving the city streets that have been destroyed by simi trucks driving down them. This would'nt happen if there was a loop to drive around the town, instead of though it.

George_Braziller 5 years, 12 months ago

So how is KDOT planning to buy land when at the same time the Director is saying they're losing money and may have to eliminate projects?

pinecreek 5 years, 12 months ago

So the state of Kansas cannot afford its SRS offices, it cannot maintain the roads that it has, it cannot fund education inside the state, and it cannot or will not fund major parts of its healthcare obligations in Medicare, but it can find $150 million (federal and state funds) to build a road that won't fix the problem that is Lawrence commuter traffic (ie, internally-generated). Glad to see that our community leaders (local and state) really have their heads in the game, so to speak. Very very sad state of affairs.

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