Archive for Thursday, July 23, 2009

KDOT to plan for South Lawrence Trafficway interchange, other projects

July 23, 2009

The Kansas Department of Transportation wants to pump money into planning for a new interchange at the intersection of Bob Billings Parkway and the South Lawrence Trafficway.

KDOT Secretary Deb Miller announced the decision this morning in Topeka, as she outlined several dozen projects to be financed through 2012 using expected state revenues.

The interchange project is one in five in line for early planning, Miller said, but not yet scheduled — or financed — for actual construction.

“Because the nation’s financial crisis won’t last forever, and because it can take years to get a project to the actual construction stage, we plan to begin the initial planning phase for five projects,” Miller said. “These projects will go into the development pipeline with other projects for which planning is already under way. But I want to be clear that there are no construction funds for these projects at this time.”

Earlier this year, Lawrence city officials had asked KDOT to dedicate $10 million in federal stimulus financing to build the interchange, but that request was denied. The trafficway’s original plans called for the interchange, but that portion of the project was dropped before construction began on the stretch that connects the Kansas Turnpike at the northwestern edge of Lawrence with U.S. Highway 59 at the southern edge of town.

That initial stretch of the trafficway cost $45 million and opened to traffic in 1996.

Planning for the new interchange likely will include basic information, and allow for officials to better estimate construction costs, gauge property requirements and factor in other needs, said Jason Van Nice, a KDOT construction manager.

Also on KDOT’s project list, released Thursday:

• $19.6 million in 2011 and $20.5 million in 2012 for surfacing of the new U.S. 59 highway now under construction, from Lawrence to the Douglas/Franklin County line. The first portion would be concrete, and run from the county line to North 650 Road; the second section would be asphalt, and go north from the interchange at North 650 Road to the existing four-lane section of U.S. 59, just south of Lawrence.

• $800,000 to replace a drainage bridge along U.S. 59, just south of North 900 Road. The bridge would be replaced after the new U.S. 59 is open, thereby reducing delays for traffic.

• $1.4 million in 2010 to replace the Mud Creek Bridge along U.S. Highway 24, about 2.5 miles east of U.S. 59 north of Lawrence.

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