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Archive for Monday, April 30, 2012

Long haul

The Kansas Department of Transportation is moving full speed ahead on plans to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway.

April 30, 2012

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The state is awaiting a court decision that could finally clear the way for completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway, but highway officials want to be ready to get to work when the decision arrives.

To that end, the Kansas Department of Transportation has a couple of items on this week’s Lawrence City Commission agenda.

The plan to construct an SLT interchange at the intersection with Bob Billings Parkway can move ahead regardless of the decision from the 10th District Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, KDOT hopes to begin buying right of way for the project later this year and be ready to start construction in 2014. Although the city will be asked to contribute about $2 million to build the interchange, most of the $17 million project will be funded as part of the state’s comprehensive transportation program.

That’s good news for both local governments and local drivers. State officials had indicated earlier that the state might not be able to fund the interchange unless it instituted some kind of toll system for the trafficway, which also is Kansas Highway 10. After a survey drew a decidedly negative response to making the SLT a toll road, the state rethought its plan.

Concerns voiced by some local residents about the additional traffic that this interchange likely will put on Bob Billings Parkway and 15th Street are understandable, but this additional SLT access point will provide an important gateway to Kansas University, as well as growing KU and business interests west of Wakarusa Drive.

On Tuesday, city commissioners also will be asked to sign documents to clear the way for the long-awaited completion of the SLT east of Iowa Street. KDOT has combined the four-lane SLT construction project with the reconstruction of 31st Street through the Baker Wetlands and the extension of 31st Street to O’Connell Road in hope of attracting lower construction bids for the entire project. The 31st Street extension, which is expected to cost about $5 million will be paid for by the city.

Both of these projects will provide significant improvements for motorists traveling in and around Lawrence. It’s also notable that both projects include recreational components. The hike and bike path that already runs along the SLT will be accommodated at the new interchange and extended with the trafficway’s eastern leg all the way to O’Connell Road with connections to Haskell Avenue, the Baker Wetlands, Mary’s Lake and Broken Arrow Park.

Documents accompanying the City Commission’s Tuesday agenda include an SLT timeline that begins in 1964. It’s been a long haul. We hope the state’s optimism in moving ahead with these construction plans is rewarded soon by a court decision that allows this project to finally be completed.

Comments

bozo_the_clown 2 years, 3 months ago

About time, when I'm taking K-10 to get onto 70, passing through Lawrence definitely adds another ten to fifteen minutes. Money well spent in my opinion.

There always seems to be a few whiners in Lawrence whenever anyone is trying to get something built. Best of luck to Compton in getting his hotel built, hopefully he can find a way to appease those whining about the buildings height.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 3 months ago

Just leave the TIF at the door, please. OK, Doug?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

A vacant lot also doesn't require police or fire service, or public utilities, or generate traffic that destroys streets, and has no employees whose kids need access to public education.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm so glad you have the opportunity to assert that. It adds so much to the discussion. (heavy sarcasm.)

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Let's call it like it is-- I made a comment you had no intelligent response for. A suggestion-- when you're in a hole, stop digging.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

A vacant lot generates no jobs. Jobs generate additional business activity, as it is assumed that the carpenters, plumbers, etc., will spend their wages at restaurants, clothing stores, etc. They in turn will hire waitstaff, store employees, etc. who will in turn spend their wages. For every dollar paid, it can be assumed it will be spent several times over and taxed each time. So if that 18 million dollar figure is correct, the true value will be several times that.
If we were in a great economic cycle, with full employment, where developers were lined up, some wanting to build a three story structure, some a four story structure, some five or six, then we can be a bit more choosey. But that's not the economy we live in. If a developer is willing to pump 18 million into the local economy and we know that figure will generate a lot more than that number, then do it. Jobs, jobs jobs. Everyone wants to blame Obama or Brownback. If this project doesn't go through, blame local obstructionists.

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gccs14r 2 years, 3 months ago

Presumably you're coming from somewhere else to pass through Lawrence to get to the turnpike. If you're coming from the east, there are other routes. Or are you just trying to avoid as much toll as possible and don't care if your convenience destroys a vital ecosystem?

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gccs14r 2 years, 3 months ago

Restored, not man-made. It was a wetland long before it was drained in an attempt to farm it. It's back to doing what it was supposed to do all along.

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geekin_topekan 2 years, 3 months ago

Since its become apparent that the SLT will go through, it is time for Haskell to start thinking about how their students can capitalize on this. An entry/exit through haskell's extended Mass. street would be a fine spot for a convenience store, smoke shop, bait shop, car wash, Jack in the Box.

We might as well just change our name to Olathe West. Lawrence is determined to become just like every other faceless suburb.

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grimpeur 2 years, 3 months ago

Ah, yes...1964. Tell us, dear editor:

a) where did that 1964 plan locate the by-pass? b) who decided that the by-pass should be moved closer to the center of Lawrence? c) and why?

Answers:

a) SOR b) nobody will tell c) no sensible reason has ever been given

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FlintlockRifle 2 years, 3 months ago

That dam frog has been living the life of luxury down in the the Bahamas

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Mike Ford 2 years, 3 months ago

troll......the Haskell campus is not a reservation.

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