Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2012

SLT 2nd most expensive project on state’s list

November 15, 2012


The South Lawrence Trafficway project is the second most expensive project on the state’s transportation to-do list, which was released Wednesday.

The estimated construction costs for the nearly six-mile stretch is $150 million, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation.

That was No. 2 behind the Johnson County Gateway interchange project at Kansas Highway 10 and Interstates 435 and 35 junction, which will cost $250 million.

KDOT put together a list of more than 430 projects that are under way or will be within the next year or so with a total price tag of $1.1 billion.

“The majority of these projects are considered preservation work and will protect the investment Kansans have made in their transportation system,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King. “But there are also some big projects that will expand capacity on some of the state’s busiest corridors and spur economic development,” he said.

The contractor for the SLT is scheduled to be picked in September 2013 with construction scheduled to start later in the year and completed by October 2016.

Last month, the more than 20-year legal battle to stop the SLT from running through the Baker Wetlands ended.

Gov. Sam Brownback has said building the SLT was one of his top highway priorities within the state’s comprehensive transportation plan.

KDOT also included the $17 million interchange at Bob Billings Parkway and the SLT in west Lawrence in its priority list. That project is scheduled to start in the spring of 2014 and completed in late 2015.


kujayhawk7476 5 years, 7 months ago

Poor oneeye_wilbur. He doesn't want to get out of his lifelong rut because he just had new carpet put down! Wake up wilbur....progress is punching you in the face!

grimpeur 5 years, 7 months ago

It's not as expensive as the road that will eventually be needed south of the Waka. You know--the one that will actually serve nearby future residents of Lawrence's southern UGA. But why plan for the growth of our city?

The finger-pointing and cheerleading for and against the 32nd St. route hide the fact that it's redundant before it's built. So, $150M of our money will be followed by even more because we refuse to plan ahead.

DRsmith 5 years, 7 months ago

Just think of how cheap it would have been if it weren't for all the tree huggers.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Funny how math-challenged the whiners can be-- a road costs what a road costs.

Interestingly, after the section through the wetlands was halted, the amount of money originally allotted to build the entire route wasn't even enough to build the western leg.

The main driver of the cost of this road is ability of a well-connected road-building lobby to get boatloads of cash from financially well-lubricated legislators.

DRsmith 5 years, 7 months ago

Yes, because supply costs haven't risen at all Bozo. Good call. Not to mention all the legal fees spent.

akuna 5 years, 7 months ago

The legal fees could have been avoided if the proponents of the SLT would have moved the road south of the wetlands. It is stubbornness on both sides that make the legal costs rise.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

The costs of nearly everything have risen-- that's inflation, something opponents of this road aren't responsible for. Bottomline, comparing apples and apples, the cost of the road has not increased but for one thing-- the size and scope of this road is considerably larger than the one envisioned 25 years ago-- a much greater reason for the increased costs.

nut_case 5 years, 7 months ago

Interestingly, the state had offered to extend the wetlands by several hundred acres, add visitors centers and trails in exchange for the small scrap of land for the highway - but this would increase the cost by millions.

As it stands, I don't think an 'agreement' was ever reached - time simply ran out and the opposition failed to make additional court filings. Does this mean no additional swamp, no visitors center and a lower overall cost for the project?

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

The additional swamp is already there, and pretty nice. They are moving some houses off the area land right now. You should drive by it and see. It's really very interesting.

deec 5 years, 7 months ago

I thought Kansas and/or the Federal government was broke. I thought all departments were supposed to be preparing for a 10% budget decrease.

Funny how some people are all about no taxes and smaller government, but yet they support this huge expenditure on an unneeded road. I guess cutting government spending only applies to other people's pet projects.

nut_case 5 years, 7 months ago

Kansas is doing OK - millions in surplus I believe. (It's mainly a 'blue' Douglas county surrounded by a 'red' state, don't forget) It's the Federal Government which is not only broke, but has mortgaged our futures, our kids futures and our kids,kids futures with debit.

Tom Hilger 5 years, 7 months ago

In 20 years when it's still not built, it will be the # 1 most expensive project on state’s list.

Joe Hyde 5 years, 7 months ago

Since the western leg of the Trafficway runs right past the proposed new Sports Complex, there may still be time for KU Endowment Assn. to purchase from KDOT at bargain prices the land upon which the remaining six miles of the SLT's eastern leg will be built. Once the land is in their possession KU Endowment could use their no-open-bids contracting procedure to hire their own highway construction company that would build the east leg of the Trafficway.

Once that contracting work is done KU Endowment could approach the Lawrence City Commission again, this time with a modified Sports Complex package that wraps the construction cost of the SLT's eastern leg into the overall cost of the Sports Complex. The city would have no choice but to accept the contractors already selected by KU Endowment, else the east leg of the SLT never gets built.

Combining the projects would put Lawrence taxpayers on the hook for $175 million instead of the $25 million we'll pay for the KU Endowment-driven Sports Complex project alone. But think of it! We'd have a new Sports Complex that will always be used most heavily by KU students, plus we'd have the SLT finally completed for the immediate benefit of its most frequent users -- Johnson Countians.

Such a funding switch would relieve KU Endowment and KDOT from spending their millions; Lawrence taxpayers would pay for everything, and we'd do it without a referendum measure that determines by popular vote whether the majority even wants it.

Recent events suggest that 4 out of 5 city commissioners would go for this idea.

UltimateGrownup 5 years, 7 months ago

"2nd most expensive project," eh? Well, that is the objective, to see how much money can be thrown at these projects. The actual cost of the SLT is a fraction of that, but given all the press attention, hoopla, and lawsuits, there is a political need to build a Swamp Disneyland adjacent. But at least the SLT needs to be built. The Johnson County Gateway is a redo of what we've seen over the past decade, a massive road-ripping effort, thinly disguised as "construction," that will spend $250 million. The result is that there will be orange barrels, orange cones, concrete barriers, and twisted lines on the roads, leading to more rear-end collisions. The roads in the K10/435/I-35 corridor have been in this condition for the past decade and this project will keep it that way. But, the $250 million will get tossed about. Why can't we just remove all the garbage from the roads, restore safety, and then give the $250 million to the taxpayers and to the schools, rather than spending it to make roads worse and more dangerous?

akuna 5 years, 7 months ago

I think an eastern by-pass between Lawrence and Eudora or even east of Eudora that connects K-10 and I-70 would do more to relieve traffic and spur development than the SLT.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Your ignorance is almost as multifaceted as your bigotry.

lawslady 5 years, 7 months ago

This project has been talked about and planned and delayed for going on 15 years at least. Had the city/county just bit the bullet and fought the opponents (in court if necessary) back when, it might have been completed 10 years ago. LJW, it would be very interesting to know how much the bill for construction (alone) would have cost if the project had gone forward in the 1990's, as originally planned.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

The road they intend to build now is not the same as the one planned in 1990's.

At any rate, relatively speaking, after factoring for inflation, construction costs are pretty close to the same as they were then, and taxpayers haven't been paying for it for the last 15 years as they would have if it had been built in the 90's. There are two sides to every equation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

My post was quite factual. If you want to dispute those facts, could you be specific?

SloMo 5 years, 7 months ago

Or if the city had just built a bypass, which is what the people voted for, and not tried to "switch" it to a trafficway after the "bait" had been taken... yes, think of all the money, time, and resources that could have been saved!

DRsmith 5 years, 7 months ago

Whatever keeps me from having to drive through Lawrence on the way to KC....

deec 5 years, 7 months ago

Moving to the Metro would take care of that for you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

More like a good place for you to gloat over your five minutes of convenience at Haskell's expense.

lawslady 5 years, 7 months ago

How does this cost Haskell? Honestly, I don't know. Just seeking facts (not opinions).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

It's being built on property that was inappropriately diverted from Haskell's possession in the late 60's. As long as Baker (the main recipient) was restoring the wetlands to be used for educational purposes, with open access to everyone, no problem. When they sold it off to be paved over, big problem.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

"That land was never in Haskell's possession."

When you start out with a blatant falsehood, and continue from there, one has to wonder why you bother posting.

blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

"Protect the Investment" in Kansas Roads! Can vouche for that, we have driven throughout the United States during the last 3 years on business and vacation and can attest to the fact that Kansas has about the best state highway system that we have encountered. This does not even count the Kansas Turnpike! Want to get a comparison, drive one state to the East and one to the South and see how much Missouri and Oklahoma have neglected their highway systems.

blindrabbit 5 years, 7 months ago

It will be interesting at a point in the not too distant future (on the opening day of the completion of the SLT) to see the traffic flow change along 23rd Street .Many nay-sayers on the SLT subject have the mistaken belief that the traffic shift will be neligible, these no doubt the same individuals that thought the western K-10 extension from Iowa Street to the Lecompton Exchange would be a blunder. My guess is that these blind siders do not routinely drive from east of Lawrence to Wakarusa Drive or any other connection along western 23rd Street; if they did, their opposition would rapidly disolve. From the East, traffic lights at Harper, Haskell, Barker, Massachusetts. Louisiana, Alabama, Naismith, Oshdahl, Iowa, Lawrence, Kasold, Inverness, and finally Wakarusa (13 in all) and I may be missing some coupled with heavy local traffic are enough to cause many people to jump South a mile or so just to maintain their sanity. I'm guessing a trip from East side to say South Iowa street will be shortened by 10 minutes during a typical daily rush! Get real folks and as the said in The Navy "Get with the program".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

There will certainly be some traffic relief on 23rd/Clinton Pky, primarily east of Haskell and west of Kasold Ave. In between, there'll likely be little noticeable difference.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 7 months ago

Should the citizens of Kansans and the US have to pay to make the life of bedroom community commuters easier?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

I am amazed that so many have spent the past two decades trying to stop this project, despite a vote by the people and those same people are calling for a vote on the rec. center. Should we expect two decades of delays if they lose, but should they win, calls that the people have spoken?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 7 months ago

In other words, I can rationalize away my inconsistencies, but I will call you a hypocrite if you dare behave like me.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 7 months ago

Any project driven by the Chamber of Commerce leadership will be expensive, likely not necessary and be dependent on tax dollar handouts.

As for a second loop around Lawrence yes that is on the table. At a SLT discussion meeting former county commissioner McElheney the elder stood up and introduced the concept not that long ago. After more bedrooms and no new jobs to speak of traffic congestion will be the order of the day. Real Estate developers bought land all along the way long ago.

The SLT was obsolete from day one.

Duped again!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 7 months ago

Do a little research on that vote, and then get back with us.

And the differences between these two situations only start there.

Liberty275 5 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if we can tie up the library for 20 years.

Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

I love how white people can speak with false authority about issues they know nothing about.....

hujiko 5 years, 7 months ago

I love how you are the ultimate arbiter of all that is correct, and sling generalized (some might say racist) attitudes around while accusing others of being racist towards yourself.

Tip top.

Mike Ford 5 years, 7 months ago

I've seen nothing but colonial paternalism on here and the same old racist denial of indigenous religions here....Bob Eye worked for everyone to have the right to practice their religious beliefs under the First Amendment....what white people and white courts have taught me is that justice isn't meant for everyone if money is involved. I love how you call me racist because I have the courage to confront those who benefit from historical ignorance and denial.

hujiko 5 years, 7 months ago

However I haven't denied your religious beliefs, and yes, you're being racist when you generalize whole swaths of people - no matter any characteristics about them.

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