The Kansas Department of Transportation has announced that they have decided against tolling any portion of the South Lawrence Trafficway.
In September 2011, KDOT contracted with ETC Institute to conduct a statistically valid “willingness to pay” survey in order to better understand how drivers in Douglas, Johnson, and Shawnee counties would respond to a toll on the SLT. Based on an analysis of the survey results, the amount of traffic that would choose to use local streets instead of the SLT was of a level that would have necessitated the reopening of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required under federal law by the National Environmental Policy Act.
“Reopening the EIS would require that the scheduled letting date in the fall of 2013 be put on hold indefinitely, resulting in significant delay to the project and substantial increases in construction costs,” said Acting KDOT Secretary Barb Rankin. “KDOT is committed to delivering this project on time and on budget.”
Tolling would have provided funding for construction of an interchange at K-10 and Bob Billings Parkway. KDOT will work with Douglas County and the City of Lawrence to develop an alternate funding package to allow the interchange to remain in the SLT construction project.
The SLT will be a six-mile, four-lane freeway section connecting the K-10 corridor around the city of Lawrence in Douglas County. Project construction is estimated to cost $150 million. The SLT has the greatest economic benefit of any project under the 10-year, $8 billion T-WORKS transportation program, and will include the creation of more than 300 acres of new wetlands, as well as bike paths and a camping grounds area. The proposed alignment begins at U.S. Highway 59/Iowa St. and continues east past 1750 Road, where it joins K-10.