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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

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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.

Comments

gccs14r 2 years, 7 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.

hujiko 2 years, 7 months ago

Look at the interchange with highway 40, it has room for the additional two lanes when the trafficway is to be expanded. My best guess is this interchange will be built in the same manner to accommodate a four lane road.

civilengineer 2 years, 7 months ago

Like hukiko said, the interchange will account for the future two lanes. It will be similar to the 6th St bridge, but will have additional capacity for left turns and bicyclists.

kansasredlegs 2 years, 7 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.

ljwhirled 2 years, 7 months ago

They invested the funds in real estate, which will likely be sold later, or save the taxpayers from a future expenditure.

It is called long term planning, something that conservatives seem unable to understand (too complicated I guess).

When you buy real estate, you are sinking money into a hard asset that is relatively easy to liquidate in the future.

I guess they could have kept it in the bank at 1%, but I bet the real estate is a better investment for the taxpayers in the long run.

blondejuan 2 years, 7 months ago

Seriously!!! You believe it was a wise investment in real estate. They overpaid for it by almost double the "RETAIL" value at the time of contract. Since the county just lowered the value of county land by up to 30%. They overpaid even more.

Just so you understand the history. The original developers wanted the land to be zoned in a way that would have originally allowed for the homeless shelter to go there. But the planners told the developer "NO". That this was an inappropriate use for the land. Now that that the homeless shelter can't find any other place the county buys the land so they can change the zoning. HUH!!! Plus, they overpaid for the land.

We conservatives do understand. I don't think you are looking at the overall picture!

DennyBarritt 2 years, 7 months ago

The libtards don't understand what the government overpaying for something means. It's easy to do when you don't have any skills and don't pay any taxes. They think Fisker and Solyndra were good investments.

xyz 2 years, 7 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.

honestone 2 years, 7 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 place...at our expense... So I guess that investment sucks...just a thought

John Kyle 2 years, 7 months ago

and a sick thought at that. Try using your heart next time.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 7 months ago

Liberals love to spend everyone elses money. Makes them feel good that they did something to help someone else when they just took money from someone who worked for it and gave it to a drunken vagrent.

newmedia 2 years, 7 months ago

Build it and they will come. Guaranteed!

notorious_agenda 2 years, 7 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.

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