Monday, November 7, 2016

South Lawrence Trafficway to open Wednesday

The Eastern Leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway took nearly three years to complete and will open to travelers on Wednesday.

“Wow, What a day!” Lawrence Mayor Mike Amyx said at the Southwest Lawrence Trafficway ribbon-cutting on Friday. His words echoed the feelings of many who have worked or waited for this important project that completes a connection between K-10 east of Lawrence and the Kansas Turnpike on the city’s west side.

Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas Acting Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, local officials and others were in attendance at the ribbon-cutting at the new K-10 and 23rd Street interchange.
A Ribbon Cutting Celebration took place on Friday. The SLT will open for travelers Wednesday. 

“I don’t think I’m exaggerating to call this occasion momentous. In fact, that might be understating it,” said Secretary Carlson. “I’m sure there are a lot of you who wondered whether we would ever get to this point.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, after more than two decades of planning, debates and construction, the wait will be over and the east leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway will officially open for travelers.

The four-lane, six-mile freeway will provide an important connection for Douglas, Johnson, and Shawnee counties. The 6-mile, $140 million project will have many benefits, including:

  • Congestion relief for travelers
  • Travel time savings
  • Market access expansion
  • Increased safety

“We have been committed to the success of this project, which will bring major economic benefit and prosperity to the region,” said Gov. Sam Brownback. “We never lost sight of the importance of this effort not only for commuters and commerce but also for the thousands of students and residents who have improved access to the Baker Wetlands to enjoy and learn more about nature.”

Environmental benefits are also a huge part of this project. Although finishing the SLT did mean that KDOT had to use approximately 58 acres of wetlands, a mitigation package greatly expands the original wetlands.  The $16 million mitigation package created or restored 317 acres of wetlands, 37 acres of upland prairie, and 16 acres of riparian habitats.
A new educational facility, including a wetlands education and research center opened last year and is operated by Baker University.

Part of Friday's celebration included a Public Walk-Bike event along a half-mile stretch of K-10. 
Hiking and biking trails have also been added.
To view an aerial map that shows traffic flow movements at the new K-10 interchanges at 23rd Street, Haskell Avenue and U.S. 59/Iowa Street, please click on this link: K-10 SLT East Leg Traffic Flow Map

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