Archive for Friday, October 19, 2012

SLT timeline, access points detailed at meeting

October 19, 2012


Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty of the South Lawrence Trafficway.

About 35 people showed up for a midday meeting at Lawrence City Hall on Friday to learn details about the SLT project that once were hard to contemplate: items like construction timelines, phasing and access control issues.

“I know there has been a lot of discussion about this project in the community over the years,” said Jonathan Marburger, project manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation. “But we are moving forward now. That is the message we are trying to get across today.”

Marburger said KDOT expects to have a contractor selected by September 2013, and some construction work could begin a few weeks thereafter. The project is expected to be finished no later than Fall 2016.

The first part of the construction project likely will be the most controversial. Marburger said laying down the significant amounts of fill material in the Baker Wetlands between Haskell Avenue and Louisiana Street will be among the first orders of business.

“That will probably be the most challenging part of the entire project,” Marburger said. “We have a lot of specialized requirements that will be in place for that area.”

Marburger said construction crews will be prohibited from doing the traditional “scarifying” of the land that is a usual first step in road construction. Instead, crews will trim the vegetation, lay down a “geosynthetic blanket” that will be covered with layers and layers of gravel.” Crews won’t be allowed to do any large scale de-watering of the wetlands.

“Basically, we will just be putting rock in there until we get out of the water,” Marburger said.

Construction crews also won’t be allowed to have their equipment in the general wetland area. The project is expected to directly damage about 50 acres of wetlands. Crews are expected to keep that area to a minimum by building the road about 300 feet at a time, and then using the newly built road to bring all construction equipment in and out of the area, Marburger said.

“It will be like they are building a land bridge,” Marburger said.

The wetland portion of the road did draw one brief protest during the meeting. An area resident told KDOT officials he wanted the state to “plan not to build the road” and said the highway would leave a “scar” on the community. But most in the crowd passed over the comments and continued to ask KDOT about construction details.

Among the details provided Friday:

• Work to relocate Haskell Avenue and Louisiana Street likely won’t begin until the summer of 2014. Louisiana, south of the existing 31st Street, will move about a half-mile to the west in order to move traffic farther from the Baker Wetlands. Haskell Avenue will move about 1,000 feet to the east. KDOT officials pledged that at no point will Haskell and Louisiana be closed at the same time during the construction process.

• When completed, the new Louisiana street will be a zigzagging road. Louisiana Street north of 31st Street will remain where it is today. At the current 31st and Louisiana intersection, Louisiana basically will dead end. Motorists wanting to continue south will have to take 31st Street a half-mile to the west, then reconnect with the new Louisiana Street. The new Louisiana Street will head due south for about one mile, and will include a bridge over the South Lawrence Trafficway. Louisiana then turns back to the east for a half-mile, where it will tie into the existing bridge that crosses the Wakarusa River.

• The new Haskell Avenue will cut through the middle of the Horizon Industrial Park at the southeast corner of the existing 31st and Haskell. At the moment, KDOT officials believe only one building — the RSC Equipment Rental business right at the corner — will have to be relocated. Haskell will begin shifting to the east as it intersects with 29th Street. The existing Haskell roadway between 31st Street and 29th Street will remain in place to serve as a frontage road for the industrial property that is on the west side of Haskell.

Haskell Avenue will have an interchange that allows access onto the SLT. Louisiana Street will not have any access to the trafficway.

• The eastern terminus for the SLT will be near Noria Road. The eastern interchange will be a full freeway-style interchange that will not require any traffic lights. The interchanges at Haskell Avenue and at Iowa Street both will be more traditional city style interchanges that will have traffic lights.

• Noria Road no longer will have direct access to either 23rd Street or to Kansas Highway 10. Motorists wanting to access Noria road from 23rd Street either will need to take O’Connell Road to the south or drive through the East Hills Business Park to access Noria Road to the north.

• The portion of 31st Street between Haskell and Louisiana will be entirely removed and converted back to wetlands. A new four-lane city street will be built by KDOT that is just north of the SLT. KDOT will pay to build the road to a point just past Haskell Avenue. The city, as part of the SLT project, will pay to have the road extended to O’Connell Road.

• Large scale excavation of dirt is likely to happen somewhere east of Lawrence. KDOT engineers estimate about 3.9 million cubic yards of dirt and material will be needed for embankments and other parts of the road. The majority of the dirt will come from outside of the construction site.

“You might see some new lakes or ponds created in the area,” Marburger said. “But I’m sure the contractors will be out talking to land owners about potentially buying dirt.”


Mike Ford 3 years, 1 month ago

just like the Washington State Department of Transportation your project will end as tribes repatriate their ancestors bones unless your out of state non union employees do the dirty work of the fibbers. nice WHITE wash.

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like progress.

I'm a little confuse about the four-lane city street just north of the SLT.

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

Well, the 4 lane street will be used much more, but they just couldn't back down from the SLT. There were a lot of people counting on making a lot of money from their property, and to have prime property nearby on which to build strip malls.

kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

Chad, is there a map of the proposed routes you can put on here? I'm assuming Noria Rd., is E 1750 Rd., but like Liberty275 I can't picture where the four-lane Rd just north of the SLT will be - one city block, two city blocks?

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

That sounds like 31st. Maybe they will rebuild the east part of 31st back with 4 lanes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"The first part of the construction project likely will be the most controversial. Marburger said laying down the significant amounts of fill material in the Baker Wetlands between Haskell Avenue and Louisiana Street will be among the first orders of business."

How wide will this layer of fill need to be to accommodate the planned 10 lanes of roadway, plus sound barrier wall, plus medians and paved shoulders?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

While that post lacked any sort of factual content, it scored very high on the pettiness scale.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

If that's true, once all the other stuff is added up, it's probably closer to 400 ft.

formerfarmer 3 years, 1 month ago

Could have taken the road straight east of the bridge to nowhere, down Armstrong Road, the driest part of the wetlands, and by-passed the layers and layers of gravel through the wettest part of the wet lands. But hey, this is all about saving the state money and spending funds wisely.

Randall Uhrich 3 years, 1 month ago

I hope there are plans in the works to convert the western section of the SLT to a 4-lane freeway. As it is, the 2-lane that exists will be an even bigger deathtrap when the volume of traffic is quadrupled after the eastern section is completed.

Bill Lee 3 years, 1 month ago

Just because the number of lanes increases traffice won't necessarily increase at the same rate.

average 3 years, 1 month ago

Traffic on K-10 and the existing SLT will increase dramatically. Currently, no through-traffic from Topeka and points west to southern Kansas City/Springfield/NW Arkansas goes through Lawrence. They take the turnpike to 435. I've looked at trucking company routing software, and the very low traffic counts for semis on K-10 currently (lower than many two-lanes in Kansas) backs me up on that. Once the SLT is completed (2-lane west of Iowa or not), a substantial number of the semis that currently stay on I-70 through Lawrence will divert to K-10.

IdahoWinds 3 years, 1 month ago

It will eventually be renamed, the wheels turn slowly. You also have two county commissioners who are still opposed to the SLT so they still have their heads in the mud and won't any entertain any sane discussion about it YET.

Mike Ford 3 years, 1 month ago

denying indigenous religious rights is sane and people who oppose the offensive acts you're advocating are insane? you all have whitewashed history since the brockington report. You can call me names all day long and call me racist because you deny what you have benefitted from and I'm not going away. The Seneca people who were forced from the Cornplanter land tract reservation due to the Kinzua Dam project didn't go away even after they were moved 150 miles north from PA to NY. Ironically they are now in a position economically to buy the dam that caused their lands to be flooded and they intend to dismantle that dam above Pittsburgh, PA. Your culture has done so many offensive things I don't even know where to start. How many times do historically ignorant people blame the people they've offended by refering to the victims of the theft, genocide, and denial as did this country become this dumb? I'm not going away.....traditional religious practices and plant gathering occurs in the wetlands as it did before america existed. you and your road are upsetting this balance as your culture always has.

IdahoWinds 3 years, 1 month ago

Tuschie said "traditional religious practices and plant gathering occurs in the wetlands". If Tuschie says it, it MUST be true, right?!? He also says he is not going away. And why should we care? Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and gnats aren't going away either. Hard to tell much of a difference. The SLT will impact about 50 acres of the Baker Wetlands. That is less than 9%. I suspect that "traditional religious practices and plant gathering" can still occur in the remaining 91%. There is NOTHING that occurs in the alignment of the SLT that does not occur elsewhere in the Baker Wetlands.

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