The Kansas Department of Transportation opened the newest section of K-10 Highway to the public this morning with a ribbon cutting and bike and walk-a-thon ceremony.
Construction for the west leg of the SLT was completed in 1996, but issues arose when the project proposed to cut through the Baker wetlands and near culturally-sensitive sites on the Haskell Indian Nations University campus.
The ensuing debates and changes pushed the project back nearly two decades, but also helped KDot fund a $16 million package to create and restore more than 350 acres of wetlands, prairie and other habitats. The completion of the South Lawrence traffic way will help commute time by alleviating congestion on 23rd Street and providing a straight shot from Kansas City to Lawrence to Topeka.
“Well, it will make a huge difference for a lot of commuters, especially those in the Lawrence area that may wish to bypass 23rd Street and get onto the new highway,” Kansas Acting Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson said. “That helps them move through and also alleviates a lot of congestion that you have now on that road.”
According to the Department’s press release, special construction practices were applied to protect the base of the wetlands and other special construction measures will lessen the noise of the highway and help to protect wildlife. The highway will be open to commuters on Nov. 9.