Archive for Friday, April 27, 2012

State commits to building 15th Street interchange on SLT if $2 million in local funds is used

April 27, 2012


A long talked-about interchange at Bob Billings Parkway and the South Lawrence Trafficway may be under construction by 2014, if city and county commissioners can find an extra $2 million in their future budgets.

A Kansas Department of Transportation spokesman confirmed the state has found a way to include funding for the $17 million interchange in its comprehensive transportation plan, if local leaders can provide about $2 million in local funding for the project.

The interchange has been on the drawing board ever since the western leg of the trafficway was completed years ago.

But funding for the project has been difficult to find. KDOT last year studied the idea of making the South Lawrence Trafficway a toll road to help pay for the intersection. The department scrapped that idea several months ago, and said at the time it wasn’t sure how it would be able to fund the project.

KDOT spokesman Josh Powers said the department decided to add it to the department’s highly competitive T-Works comprehensive transportation plan because the opportunity to build the interchange at the same time construction work is underway on the eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway was too good to pass up.

“It represents a chance to save us money, if we can do both projects at once,” Powers said.

Construction of the eastern leg of the SLT project is being challenged in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. A ruling in the case is expected later this year, but Powers said KDOT is taking steps to begin construction by late 2013, provided the state is victorious in the lawsuit.

City officials said they were pleased about the sudden reversal in fortunes for the interchange project.

“We need another a connection point on the trafficway to facilitate commuters and people who just want to get to the south part of town,” City Commissioner Mike Dever said. “In the long run, it really will take pressure off the Sixth and SLT interchange.”

Powers said the state also was interested in the project because the interchange will provide a new gateway to Kansas University. Bob Billings Parkway turns into 15th Street east of Iowa and runs into the heart of the KU campus.

KDOT leaders will brief city commissioners on the project at commissioners’ Tuesday evening meeting, but won’t ask the city to make a formal funding commitment. Commissioners are expected to discuss the funding request as part of the 2013 budget process, which will take place this summer.

“We will have to do some real shuffling around of budgeted expenditures, but I think it is possible,” Dever said of coming up with the city’s share of the funding.

Powers said the state hopes to be able to begin discussions about possible land acquisition for the interchange late this year.


oletimer 1 year, 11 months ago

This road should have already been built by now. Thanks to the opposition, it has not been started, and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in lawyer fees. I really don't think it will be finished in my lifetime because of all the delays. I sincerely hope to see the ribbon cutting and opening just to realize that the majority can win over the noisy minority. Tired of courts, lawyers, and the misguided.


notorious_agenda 1 year, 11 months ago

Douglas county should have built the SLT before the current "summer of progress" and the future "summer of more progress" I can barely get out to the farm anymore. But then again they tear down a tiny bridge that will take them 6 months to build so I have little faith they will ever finish the SLT.

With 23rd street going down to 1 lane for a long time it seems like having another option would have been a terrific idea.


MacHeath 1 year, 11 months ago

How about cutting a couple mil out of that 30 million dollar proposed Law enforcement center? As a matter of fact, why not cut out about 20 million out of that idea.


newmedia 1 year, 11 months ago

Build it and they will come. Guaranteed!


LJ Whirled 1 year, 11 months ago

Will this interfere with the Sacred Roadside Ditch? What about the historic dead-end and sand pile? This is a travesty! An outrage!


honestone 1 year, 11 months ago

It may be too tough for a tightly wound liberal to understand that once those poor homeless people get moved in...getting them out will be all but impossible...unless we give them another sweetheart deal for a bigger and better our expense... So I guess that investment sucks...just a thought


xyz 1 year, 11 months ago

So what is your point, Ksredlegs? Sounds like you're saying if County Commissioners hadn't allocated funds for a consolidated public works facility and the homeless shelter, then that money would be available for this interchange. If commissioners spend funds on a project you support are they still "tax and spenders" that should be voted out? And by the way, no taxes were increased to fund the Public Works/Homeless Shelter project.


kansasredlegs 1 year, 11 months ago

County had $900,000+ before Gaughan and Thelman wasted it on Public Works Homeless Shelter project. Remember to vote these two tax and spenders out when each is up for election again.


gccs14r 1 year, 11 months ago

And how much of that new construction will have to be ripped out after the second two lanes go in?

Build the other two lanes, then put in the interchange.


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