Recent Event Highlights: KDOT commits $192 million to complete South Lawrence Trafficway, Environmental groups file appeal with 10th U.S. Circuit Court, Federal judge upholds decision to build South Lawrence Trafficway along 32nd Street; opponents promise appeal, South Lawrence Trafficway could get state funding in 2013, Protestors lay foundation for beavers to rebuild dam in Haskell Wetlands, Trafficway opponents seek KU roadblock, and 41 more...
Created by LJW on Jun 20, 2011
Last updated: 07/13/11 at 03:04 PM
Tags: Kansas transportation highways environment
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The South Lawrence Trafficway now has a checkbook.
Gov. Sam Brownback announced Friday morning that the state’s already-approved comprehensive transportation plan will include $192 million to complete the final leg of the trafficway, which will connect Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence to Interstate 70 west of the city.
Groups opposed to the planned South Lawrence Trafficway have asked the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the $188 million project.
A judge has upheld the Federal Highway Administration’s decision to align the South Lawrence Trafficway along 32nd Street, as opposed to a route that would take the road south of the Baker Wetlands.
Regional support for the South Lawrence Trafficway makes it a likely candidate for state funding in 2013.
In response to the $8 billion transportation bill the state legislature approved last spring, the Kansas Department of Transportation has spent the past two-and-half months hosting workshops to gauge what projects residents want to fund first.
A group of animal rights advocates laid a foundation of rocks, brush and logs Wednesday in an area of the Haskell/Baker Wetlands recently cleared by Douglas County Public Works.
If the South Lawrence Trafficway is to be built along an approved alignment through the Baker Wetlands, some of the resulting pavement would need to cross a 20-acre patch of property owned by Kansas University.
Completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway rates among the state’s top five priorities for future urban highway improvements, a list expected to form the basis for a proposed new highway program.
The South Lawrence Trafficway won’t be getting a new interchange at Bob Billings Parkway any time soon.
The project — anticipated to cost $10 million — was not among several projects chosen for financing through the federal stimulus program approved this week. The interchange had been among $1.2 billion in projects that had been considered for the initial round of financing of about $280 million.
Area environmentalists and students from Haskell Indian Nations University announced Friday afternoon that they've filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block construction of the trafficway through the Baker Wetlands.
Mark Wellendorf plans to drive his skid loader through hydric soil just south of 31st Street this fall, plowing under corn and soybean fields to make room for arrowleaf, spikerush and some two dozen other species of plants that thrive in wetlands.
For the first time in more than a decade, supporters of the South Lawrence Trafficway have all the necessary federal permits to build the road through the Baker Wetlands.
One day after federal regulators took a major step in approving a project to build the South Lawrence Trafficway through the Baker Wetlands, preparations already were under way Wednesday to convert the wetlands into a battleground.
A route through the Baker Wetlands is the best option to complete the controversial South Lawrence Trafficway, key federal regulators said Tuesday.
North or south?
After more than two decades of discussion, that's the question that is now at the center of the debate surrounding the uncompleted South Lawrence Trafficway.
It was show-and-tell day for the controversial South Lawrence Trafficway.
Federal regulators had an open house Thursday that attracted 140 people to look at placards and ask questions about two proposed routes for the uncompleted eastern leg of the trafficway.
Scrap the SLT. Build more roundabouts.
Those are key elements of a proposal - which could be endorsed by the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission - to give up the long-delayed completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway in favor of a new eastern bypass and an extended 31st Street controlled by roundabouts.
A majority of city commissioners are turning up the volume in their opposition to a 32nd Street route for the South Lawrence Trafficway.
Commissioners on Tuesday are set to approve a letter that tells federal highway officials reviewing the project that the City Commission "objects in the strongest terms" to a route that would run the bypass project through the Baker Wetlands.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., announced Friday that he has successfully included $1.5 million worth of funding in a federal transportation bill to jump-start work on the eastern portion of the trafficway, which has been stalled by concerns that the proposed route through the Baker Wetlands would be environmentally damaging and would harm nearby Haskell Indian Nations University.
Five years ago, the field south of Eagle Bend Golf Course in the shadow of Clinton Lake was abandoned cropland, empty and muddy.
"The easy answer is the worst-case scenario, that it will never be built," Sally Howard, chief counsel for Kansas Department of Transportation, told Lawrence and Douglas County officials when asked to estimate the SLT timeline.
Bob Eye, a Topeka attorney representing several groups opposed to building the trafficway in the wetlands, said he expected to file a lawsuit in the next four to six weeks in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.
The Kansas Department of Transportation has spent $3.6 million buying land for completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway.
Regulators are poised to clear a path next month for completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway, even if the state doesn't have the money to build it.
The state has no money to complete the South Lawrence Trafficway.
Even if the project gains the necessary federal permits and survives legal challenges, there are no funds to finish the $115 million highway connecting the Kansas Turnpike with Kansas Highway 10 east of the city along a route near 31st Street, transportation officials said Friday.
With birds chirping and traffic whizzing by, activists who view the Baker Wetlands as sacred to American Indians conducted a sunrise prayer service Friday to draw attention to a highway project they feel threatens the preserve.
A change in administration and a squeeze on highway funds is pushing completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway off the fast track.
A proposed historic district that includes the Baker Wetlands should not be designated a national landmark of spiritual or religious significance, a federal official ruled.
Moves to buy land, draw up plans and compile bid documents for completing the South Lawrence Trafficway are speeding up in an effort to avoid the state's expanding financial pothole.
Accused of ignoring public comment and turning a deaf ear to American Indian concerns, a divided Douglas County Commission stood its ground and moved ahead with its support for finishing the South Lawrence Trafficway through the Baker Wetlands.
Finishing the South Lawrence Trafficway through the Baker Wetlands stands the best chance of meeting the city's growing traffic, safety and development needs, a federal study concludes.
A protest of the South Lawrence Trafficway stretched Sunday from Douglas County's seat of power to the edge of the Baker Wetlands on 31st Street.
About 560 American Indian tribes across the country are being invited to share their views about the uncompleted South Lawrence Trafficway.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday sent letters to the tribes asking for feedback on the trafficway project, particularly how the road would affect the Baker Wetlands and Haskell Indian Nations University.
City and county officials are disappointed that funding to complete the proposed eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway made Gov. Bill Graves' list of proposed budget cuts.
But SLT opponents said the dollar drain would give stakeholders a chance to re-evaluate the highway's necessity.
The Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club wants to keep the South Lawrence Trafficway out of the Baker Wetlands.
Following a meeting Saturday of the 13-member executive committee, the Kansas Chapter announced it is committed to preserving the wetlands and will call upon the resources of the national Sierra Club to accomplish its goals.
A 32nd Street route for the uncompleted eastern alignment of the South Lawrence Trafficway won twin victories Tuesday: It won recommendation from a Lawrence task force and a vote of confidence from Baker University.
Community members with environmental, traffic, cultural and other concerns met Thursday to discuss the unfinished eastern segment of the South Lawrence Trafficway.
Two Republicans on the Douglas County Commission rejected the sole Democrat's call for a South Lawrence Trafficway south of the river.
Commissioner Charles Jones said he was worried that the plan of the county and city to improve 31st Street will by muddied by the Kansas Department of Transportation's goal to complete the trafficway, possibly along a 32nd Street alignment.
City and county officials have decided they want to go it alone on 31st Street.
In a meeting here Thursday, Lawrence Mayor Jim Henry and Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Taul told Kansas Transportation Secretary Dean Carlson they were no longer interested in fighting to complete the eastern segment of the South Lawrence Trafficway.
Representatives of most of the agencies involved in the South Lawrence Trafficway debate, including its main opponents, held a private, two-hour meeting Thursday night.
Douglas County, state and federal officials have all but admitted defeat after a statement by Haskell Indian Nations University clearly opposing a 31st Street route for the South Lawrence Trafficway.
With the Federal Highway Administration announcing Tuesday it would not appeal the South Lawrence Trafficway lawsuit, the road to completion of a disputed environmental study is a little clearer, Douglas County officials say.
The Army Corps of Engineers begins the review process for a Section 404 permit, which is scheduled to run out Dec. 31, focusing largely on noise and visual impacts to the Haskell campus. The Corps suggests it may require additional noise and sound buffering for the 31st Street area, including trees and a noise wall.
It requests that the county do a new noise study for the area to complement those done for the environmental impact statement. The county asks Judge Van Bebber to clarify and/or modify his injunction to allow the study.
Haskell announces it will do its own noise mitigation study of the 31st Street area.
Judge Van Bebber denies the request to allow a noise study for the 404 permit. In the meantime, the Corps grants a one-year extension on the permit to allow time for the case and studies to be resolved.
A Federal Highway Administration official makes public his agency's intent to withdraw from the project, ending most federal environmental oversight and work on the SEIS, if the state and county agree to request no more federal funding for the road.
The western 9 miles of the SLT opens to traffic.
Kansas Natural Resource Council and two Haskell Indian Nations University students sue to force trafficway planners to alter the format of a public hearing scheduled on the SEIS. A federal judge denies the request and the public hearing is attended by 633 people. Trafficway planners record 460 written and oral comments and five petitions.
Lawrence Chamber of Commerce has a groundbreaking ceremony for the western 9 miles of the trafficway.
Pressured by the U.S. Justice Department and other agencies, the Douglas County Commission orders a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS).
A citizens group called the Federation to Rescue Our Greenspace files suit in U.S. District Court against the Federal Highway Administration and Environmental Protection Agency for approving the trafficway's environmental impact statement. The listed plaintiffs allege the statement failed to consider a route south of the Wakarusa River. A federal judge later rules that the study sufficiently studied the impacts on the wetlands.
County residents vote 13,679 to 10,815, supporting $4 million in bonds for the trafficway.
Three Douglas County residents sue the county, alleging the explanatory statement on the trafficway ballot unfairly influenced voters to favor the issue.
The Elkins Prairie, an 80-acre patch of virgin prairie, is plowed by its owner, apparently an attempt to force a decision on a county purchase of the property.
Douglas County District Judge Mike Malone dismisses the suit. The residents appeal the decision to the Kansas Appeals Court in early 1991. The appeals court reverses Malone's decision in October 1991, and the suit goes to the Kansas Supreme Court, which rules 6-0 July 10, 1992, in favor of the county.