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Are you happy that the South Lawrence Trafficway may never be built?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 30, 2004

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Photo of Chris Fox

“No. I’m not happy, because they wasted all the taxpayers’ money up to this point. They really should have planned things out better.”

Photo of Amy White

“I get really annoyed with all the trucks driving through Lawrence, but at the same time, I like the wetlands. I wish that they could just build around them.”

Photo of Corey Koester

“Yes. Agnes T. Frog lives!”

Photo of Joya Cleveland

“Yes. I’m glad that there will not be a trafficway, because we want to preserve the wetlands and our wildlife.”


nicegirl 13 years, 6 months ago

I just realized that I used the words Lulu and practical in the same statement. Silly me.

Funnybone 13 years, 6 months ago

What a waste of time. Traffic will never flow smoothly in this town due to this project never being completed. I guess the city just loves spending tons of money on constant upkeep up the roads in town. Nothing like a 16 wheeler running through town. Does the roads lots of good. Lawrence will forever be in the dark ages of odern transportation. So do I think that the SLT will ever be completed. Not in this life time. Preservation is great but there comes a time when things have to change. We would also hate to deflect the interest from the sacred downtown area. Don't get me wrong about Lawrence. I love Lawrence but the city planners and all these anti-SLT groups is enough to make any sane person living in the community reconsider their location. It should never take as long as it does to drive through this town. Look at Wichita and Kansas City. They are stiill thriving and they have by-passes all over the place. Ignorance is bliss!!!

craigers 13 years, 6 months ago

I know I am not real happy about the whole deal because they planned on trying to preserve as much of the wetlands as possible and what land they did take it would have been given back in the form of new land. Yes, of course some of the animals would be displaced, but they would resettle in the new land and also during the compromises, the Baker Wetlands would have gotten an actual "visitor" type center where more people would have visited and could learn about the wildlife. The anti-SLT groups have been compromised with enough and they were offered plenty. I just wish some would realize they need to give up a little to gain a lot, but now we have a bridge just sitting there going nowhere and who knows if it ever will. Probably not, because around here conservationists and animal-rights activists always seem to get their way. Oh no, I better go unchain my dog before somebody turns me in.

craigers 13 years, 6 months ago

Jonas, I have heard that most of the upkeep (like burning the fields among other things), is handled by Baker University in Baldwin City. I don't know where it gets funded from or anything else, but I think Baker University would be a good place to start.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 6 months ago

Jonas: Try Roger Boyd at Baker Univ.

Frankly the state should choose another plan and get on with it

Funnybone 13 years, 6 months ago

Exactly. How come I never see anyone there. Baker is right. If they are so great why aren't more people out there "enjoying" them. I about fell over when I heard that they were man made. One of my friends at work told me that a couple of years ago. In my opinion, couldn't they be "moved" somewhere else since mother nature didn't originally put them there!!?!?!

Richard Heckler 13 years, 6 months ago

Actually someone did trace the history and discovered these are naturally occuring wetlands.

There are many options available to KDOT for establishing a bypass over and above the wetlands. This was never the best route as the developers were keenly aware of this environmentally sensitive area. Why did they choose this route knowing full well resistence would surface? Not good planning. The original plan south of the river could have been done 20 years ago.

Traffic is not that bad except during going to work and quitting time...certainly not any worse that any other town at these hours. I do not find it difficult to move around Lawrence. Building more roads apparently does not change things much if you observe KC/JOCO at "quitting time"...hurry up and wait. If traffic is so unbearable commuters could relocate to a closer proximity of their work place. Obviously that's not taking place.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 6 months ago

This plan is obsolete in the first place probaly 20 years old or more. There always have been alternatives of which KDOT has been aware and researched. The most sensible one to me is the I-70 connectors running north/south which ties K-10 directly to I-70 and accomodates Topeka,all of south, west and northwest Lawrence,Jonson County/KC traffic. This connection takes place east of Lawrence near the business park. This could be part of the I-70 toll road which would pay for the project.

The more roads that are built the more cars and TRUCKS will come. More tax dollars for maintenance.

It will take local tax dollars to do anything because of the haste makes waste approach to the western leg in which all designated federal tax dollars for the project were spent on this two lane road and the bridge to nowhere. In the process it left a very dangerous intersection at 27th and the SLT, a KDOT matter.

However this leg,I-70 and the I-70 connectors would work well together likely for less money. The western leg needs exit/entry ramps at 15th. The 27th&SLT intersection needs to be priority before another death occurs...this was a stupid and negligent decision by the powers that be at that time.

If state and local tax dollars are the only source there are plenty of county roads that could be improved in order to direct trafiic in and around Lawrence . As the county grows this will need to be addressed. Why not sooner than later?

Lulu 13 years, 6 months ago

This is the most wonderful news. Stop the bypass!!!! I so appreciate the many involved that have tirelessly put an end to an asphalt laden road that would kill the creatures of mother Earth. Large trucks only consume polluting fuel causing hurtful emmissions for our environment, for the promotion of the corporate greed machine!!!

Thank you for stopping this road that only the callous would support. It is not needed. They should spend the money educating our children about the hazards caused by these stink machines that are NOT needed. Think Globally, Act Locally!!!

Net1wolf 13 years, 6 months ago

If the funds were available, Gov. Sebelius would NEVER release the funds to build the road.

She has too many brownshirts that live in Lawrence that don't want that road to be finished. I wonder if Lulu is one of them?

optimist 13 years, 6 months ago

The road will be built whether the opposition believes it or not. It will not happen tomorrow but in time the need will ultimately outweigh the opposition. When traveling through Lawrence becomes so hazardous and so time consuming the demands of the activist few will be overshadowed by the demands of the reasoned many who until this point have failed to involve themselves.

Baker 13 years, 6 months ago

First of all, the wetlands were man-made! Second, for those of you who say you love the wetlands and you enjoy the wetlands and save the wetlands need to stop. I drive by the wetlands everyday before and after work...and I see maybe 2 or 3 cars there a week! So if you really love the wetlands then why aren't you there? Third, the SLT is a good idea. Do you not drive down Lawrence streets? It's crazy. There is only ONE street that drives east and west through town and ONE that drives north and south through town.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 6 months ago

Since federal funds were exhausted on the western leg if any bypass is bulit it will at state(?)/county taxpayer expense and perhaps not through the wetlands. Are you willing to pay more in road taxes? The McElheney families and others will probaly protest any south of the river route since they live in that area.

There are ways to get around that area. It will require some time to check it out.

Bob Reinsch 13 years, 6 months ago

First of all, it's a matter of us vs. them. We are the humans, and they're animals. I won't trade one human life for any of them. As long as there is no SLT then we're going to have incredible congestion in the morning and the afternoons for those commuters that choose to live in Lawrence. The brain trust that works from a poorly theorized assumption that we'll be spared the "Large trucks only consume polluting fuel causing hurtful emmissions for our environment" hasn't thought the premise all the way through - those trucks are going through the center of freakin' town instead, and when they hit the gridlock (Iowa to Harper) in the morning, it's going to take that truck an extra 20-25 minutes to get through town. Call me crazy, but that's alot of extra pollutants, and they're where you live, not a couple miles away.

I could give a rat's ass about a swamp. I work in KC, and the poor planning and lack of an SLT that links up with K-10 on the east side costs me about 4 days a year away from my kids.

Ever think about the additional accidents and human life that have already been lost due to traffic congestion?

I'll choose the human beings over the frogs every day of the week. I'll choose to move the trucks from Clinton Parkway out of town every day of the week. I want the SLT completed for environmental reasons - my environment. As long as it's NOT there, you're taking time away from me that I could be spending raising my kids. For me, there is no higher calling.

Funnybone 13 years, 6 months ago

BrainCase you totally rock. You couldn't have said it any better than that. From what I read here the wet lands "use to be" naturally occuring swamp lands. Apparently mother nature didn't want it to be a swamp land anymore. I can understand preserving it, but sometimes urban development will have to take a first. If that was going to be an issued why in the world was Lawrence built the way it was. City planners need to attempt to think these things through a little better than what they are doing right now.

nicegirl 13 years, 6 months ago

Regardless of whether or not the SLT is built, trucking is a part of life (LuLu). Hundreds of thousands of people are employed by trucking lines and most of our consumable products reach us via trucks. It just isn't practical to have these trucks driving through town. Something needs to be done about it.

jonas 13 years, 6 months ago

Would anyone be capable of pointing me in the direction of a source on the wetlands origin and upkeep, as well as who owns it and how they obtained ownership? I'd like to be able to make an intelligent opinion on this, and facts and sources are scarce.

Braincase: If you don't like the commute time, then you could always move to KC instead of commuting there. It's a situation you've put yourself into, and you should, realistically, be prepared to deal with what that situation entails, instead of complaining about how much you have to sacrifice.

John Davies 13 years, 6 months ago

I feel like sueing the people fighting the SLT for damaging the health of myself and my family. It is not healthy to have the volume of traffic that comes roaring down K-10 from Johnson County dumped into one's living room. I appreciate the wetlands but there should be a better balance struck.

galfromku 13 years, 6 months ago

This whole thing is totally stupid and a sure fire indication of a waste of money. I work at KU and live off of Haskell Street in the High Chapperal area. It takes me at LEAST 45 minutes from Walgreens on 23rd to Haskell Street on theway home after work because this is the ONLY way out of town for anyone passing through, unless they go way north of town and take the turnpike. It is a real shame that some frog has a better quality of life than humans (if the frog really still exists...) I have lived in this area for over 20 years and have been out there in the wetland area several times. Once or twice with a cub scout group and a few times just because driving from Haskell Street to Wal-Mart I noticed something was up and got nosy to check. None of the times I was there were impressive at all. In fact, I have seen more wild life at Mary's lake that in the wetlands off 31st street. Poor, poor planning on the city's part. Answer this.... if a frog hopping in the road.... and it is ran over and killed & no one is there afterwards to see it.... does it still make a noice whil its carcass is squished evne though no one can hear it? WHO CARES! What are the city leaders doing? Next thing you know they will be telling us all to turn our heads the other way when some 13 yr old girl gets raped (because she was in a situation making bad decisions??? A child is a child. Thus requiring adults to step in and assist when needed... DUH ! ! !

MapMadeMind 13 years, 6 months ago

Jonas- I do believe the LJW archives will have answers to many of your questions.

Here is what I know. The land was originally swamps. Then farmers moved in and drained part of it. Then the BIA bought the up the land that is currently swamp and drained it all. Haskell used the farmland as an agricultural teaching aide for decades. At some point they stopped farming it, and Haskell used it as a trash dump. In the 50s and 60s, a Baker biology professor by the name of Boyd began expressing interest in turning the area back into a swamp for research purposes. The BIA eventuall released the land to the state in the late 60s, wherein Baker signed an agreement to by the land over a 30 year period. Among the numerous conditions of the lease, they had to restore the swamp, do research, take care of the land, etc. Baker could not use the land for any other purpose during the 30 years. (A side note, Baker struggled to keep Haskell from dumping their trash their into the 1980s. I guess they do have a great love for that piece of land, eh?) The thirty year lease is up and Baker owns the swamp outright. Haskell of course wants Baker to give it to them. Baker wants to keep it with their matching set of swamp, woodland, and prairie ecosystems.

The way I see it, Baker would be unwise to not accept the plan set forth by KDOT. They would get more funds for taking care of the swamp, they would get a visitors center, they would end up with something like 30% more swamp. That's right, the KDOT would rebuild more swamp than they are removing. So, no. I am not happy with the thought of the SLT never being built.

Bob Reinsch 13 years, 6 months ago

Jonas - My wife is faculty at the University. I have tried to find work in my field in Lawrence, but I have yet to get a single interview. My specialty is network messaging and network security. The IT field in Lawrence is in a bit of a glut, so I'm kind of screwed. I love Lawrence, and I hope to never have to leave. Now, if you find that you need an IT person with experience dating to '77 and your prepared to pay the going market wage, send me an email.

Yes I put myself into the situation. I supported my wife's career and told her I'd follow her to the end of the earth. Silly me. Do the people that reside adjacent to 23rd need to sacrifice their health? Do the people stuck in dangerous driving conditions have to sacrifice their lives? One person here states that to support the completion of the SLT is callous. I just want parents to make it home safe to their kids in a reasonable amount of time with a modicum of safety. I've had neighbors killed because of driving conditions around Lawrence and K-10. I might be callous, but I'm not an idiot. I'll choose humans over swampland and vermin every single day.

How many people have to die before it makes sense?

Richard Heckler 13 years, 6 months ago

Is anyone opposed to KDOT selecting another route so long as it gets built maybe sooner and for less money?

MADhacker 13 years, 6 months ago

Mmmmm. The smell and taste of idling diesel trucks will be wafting over town for the rest of my lifetime. I just love how they make those indentations in the road sitting at traffic lights. It seems the city has had to replace all asphalt intersections with concrete to avoid having to repave them every year.

Seriously guys. This is silly. We need to get this road built and we need to get it built NOW. Build the road now and let the people file their lawsuits later. Merril, the 38th street alignment (as noted on is right in the flood zone and the 42nd street alignment is not very practical given how far out of the way this is. But even if it came down to it, I'd rather have the 42nd street alignment than no highway. The bottom line is that not building this highway will cause more damage to the environment than building it, and many needless lives will be lost in accidents.

Savage 13 years, 6 months ago

build an underground tunnel underneath the wetlands and through them. heh heh. I heard they are not even wet, and there is no wildlife there except for a few squirrels and birds you can find in your own backyard. Oh... maybe i forgot about the one spotted owl and thats it. ha.

Net1wolf 13 years, 6 months ago

If the SLT is built at the 42nd Street alignment, IT WILL CREATE SPRAWL! Why will it create sprawl? Because growth ALWAYS gravitates to a highway.

The US Army Corps of Engineers were correct in their decision.

The ironic thing is, the Anti-Growth Anit-Bypass folks are opposed to sprawl, yet they want to create sprawl by having the trafficway further south. That Is Convoluted Logic.

bledsoe60 8 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

RoeDapple 8 years, 7 months ago

Clicked onto this OTS, started reading the dates, then the theme from "Twilight Zone" started playing in the background. Looked up and TZ was playing on SyFy channel.


1029 8 years, 7 months ago


I still don't understand why all these people need to go to JoCo so often. Oak Park Mall? Hardees? Some other mall?

K-10 is not the way to get to Kansas City. I-70 is the way to get to Kansas City. K-10 is for people who want to go to JoCo. Perhaps those people should just move there and stop whining about some obsolete, waste-of-money road that will only be used by a small fraction of the Lawrence population.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 7 months ago

I have been no build forever.

Why? Because there are many EXISTING county roads throughout douglas county and Lawrence that could be improved to direct traffic accordingly. These roads will be improved anyway. How many times do taxpayers want to pay?

More roads bring more traffic that which can be effectively documented.

People have been getting where they need to be without the obsolete trafficway road which is testimony that it would have been a wasted $200-300 million tax dollars. Plus the cost of long term maintenance.

The trafficway would have put 23rd street completely on the backs of local taxpayers instead of sharing the responsibility with KDOT = one more NEW tax increase.

Face it new roads and developers are a huge expense to taxpayers aka tax increasers.

Practicality 8 years, 7 months ago

Did Loggie resurrect this thread from the dead? I know you are out there Loggie. . . . . . . but where?

Practicality 8 years, 7 months ago

I think Bledsoe60 was Loggie trying to come back to life. Already got zapped again huh loggie?

labmonkey 8 years, 7 months ago

My wife and I used to love to visit Lawrence, but no longer go there because it is so hard to drive through. It took me just as long to get from the eastern city limits to Conroy's as it did for me to drive from 435 to the city limits. I am so glad I no longer live there as it is a giant clusterf-. Unless things change, Lawrence deserves the slow economic death it is thrusting upon itself.

tym4fun 8 years, 7 months ago

The wetlands were never swamps and never held water as they do today. In the 80's levees were built, pumps installed next to the river to fill in water for the "ecosystem". Also, if anyone has driven out Louisiana street past 31st, another mosquito habitat has been built on the west side as mitigation for the bypass. It's a done deal folks.

salad 8 years, 7 months ago

I'd love the SLT to be finished, but quite frankly, I love it even more that native americans have FINALLY been able to so completely stick it to whitey!

remember_username 8 years, 7 months ago

Is there an associated story with this? Or is the LJW just drumming up controversy. There used to be a story link for the OTS questions.

CLARKKENT 8 years, 7 months ago


ferrislives 8 years, 7 months ago

Q: Are you happy that the South Lawrence Trafficway may never be built? A: He** no!

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