The SLT Project FAQs
An Environmental Impact Statement or EIS is a document required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for certain projects that include federal funding or require federal action, such as from the Federal Highway Administration. The EIS evaluates the impacts a proposed improvements will have on the natural and man-made environment. It is designed to help agencies, elected officials, and the public make sound decisions for the project and its surrounding area. An EIS is one type of environmental document necessary to secure federal clearance and funding for transportation improvements.
A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) reviews the findings of an existing EIS to consider new or additional environmental impacts based on the introduction of new improvement options and/or major changes in the natural environment or communities. The South Lawrence Trafficway SEIS will evaluate if – and how – upgrading the corridor to a freeway, modifying access, and exploring new funding mechanisms alter the impacts and recommendations previously identified through the 1990 EIS and 2008 East Leg EIS.
The current SEIS, as a supplement to the original 1990 EIS, will evaluate a ‘No Action’ alternative as well as a combination of potential funding options for the entire SLT study area. Roadway configuration options will be evaluated, including upgrading the West Section as a freeway with controlled access and the interchanges at West 6th Street/U.S. 40, Bob Billings Parkway, Clinton Parkway, an interchange between Wakarusa Drive and E 1200 Rd/Kasold Drive, and at U.S. 59/Iowa Street. Also, interchange alternatives at I-70/East 600 Road/Lecompton Road and K-10/I-70/North 1800 Road will be considered.
KDOT conducted the K-10 West Leg Concept Study from 2014-2016, which proposed adding two new lanes between I-70 and US-59 and modifying existing access through reconfiguration of existing interchanges, removal of at-grade intersections, conversion of existing at-grade intersections to new interchanges, and adding new interchanges to improve safety and traffic flow. During this study, an environmental reevaluation of the past NEPA decision for the West Leg was initiated to assess changes since the time of the initial 1990 EIS. In the spring of 2016, the public raised concerns regarding K-10 access at Farmer’s Turnpike that led to the Federal Highway Administration recommending additional evaluation of the proposed alternatives and the study area through a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). The SEIS will review the concept alternatives and evaluate the entire corridor for impacts, and identify ways to minimize or avoid impacts to sensitive project environmental features within the project footprint.
The overall project study limits begin just north of Interstate 70 at North 1800 Road (Farmer’s Turnpike) and extend to just east of the existing K-10/23rd Street interchange. The overall length is 19.0 miles and is broken down as follows:
- The West Leg SLT begins just north of Interstate 70 at North 1800 Road (Farmer’s Turnpike) to US-59/Iowa Street (approximately 8.7 miles);
- The East Leg SLT begins at US-59/Iowa Street and continues to the existing K-10/23rd Street system interchange (5.6 miles); and
- The project study area also includes East 600 Road/Lecompton Road at Interstate 70 (approximately 0.6 mile), and U.S. 40 from K-10 to E 600 Road (approximately 4.1 miles).
While there has been a lot of work done over the past several years to develop improvement alternatives, the SEIS process involves reviewing the previous work completed, looking for issues that could impact the improvement alternatives, and evaluating the potential funding options as part of the overall solution. There is coordination with many federal and state agencies that needs to occur, along with opportunities for public engagement throughout the project. These steps all take time, and KDOT and FHWA mutually agree that a three-year schedule is realistic to arrive at an approved final Record of Decision (ROD) for the project.
There is no funding for construction at this time. A range of funding options will be evaluated as part of the SEIS.
Stakeholders can stay informed by attending scheduled public meetings, or requesting a specific meeting for your community group. You can also sign up for project updates and ask questions by emailing the project team at info@SLT-KS.org.
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Please stay informed by visiting our project website, attending meetings, and asking questions. There will be surveys and focus groups to provide input at different times throughout the study process. When the SEIS Draft is released, you will have the opportunity to review and provide comments about the alternatives and the study process to the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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An at-grade intersection is where a local road intersects a highway at the same elevation, or grade. This requires vehicles to stop on one roadway when the other roadway has the right of way. A current example is the 27th Street/Wakarusa/K-10 intersection. A grade separated interchange is when a local road crosses over or under the highway and ramps are used to enter or exit the highway. An example of this is the K-10/Bob Billings Parkway interchange.
When the initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed in 1990, there wasn’t enough traffic projected for this corridor to justify constructing a four-lane roadway at that time, so the initial two lanes of a future four-lane expressway were built for the West Leg from I-70 to US-59.
KDOT has been planning for necessary improvements to the West Leg for several years, which is why they initiated a West Leg SLT Concept Study in 2014. The timing for this SEIS was dependent on available funding and meeting the necessary requirements of the FHWA.
A range of funding options are being evaluated to fund the project. There are traditional taxing options, such as motor fuel taxes, sales taxes, and registration fees being considered to fund the project. There are also direct user fees being considered such as tolling and special transportation improvement districts along the corridor. The SEIS will evaluate the impacts of the range of funding options to help the study team decide which options are most viable to fund and deliver the SLT project.
No decisions have currently been made on whether tolling will be implmented. KDOT is looking at all feasible ways to pay for transportation improvements across the state. The SEIS will evaluate if tolling is a realistic funding option to be considered for the SLT.
The increasing cost of transportation improvements, coupled with the need for improvements as traffic and safety demands increase, leads to exploration of additional funding mechanisms to deliver the project as quickly as possible. Additionally, since tolling is a direct user fee, only motorists who use the SLT have to pay for its improvement, rather than taxpayers statewide. This allows KDOT to better balance funding needs across the state. Tolling is just one funding option being considered to pay for construction of the improvements to the SLT and no decisions have currently been made.
A variety of engineering design alternatives will provide access options for Farmer’s Turnpike. The public will have the opportunity to view and comment on these alternatives before any final design decisions are made.
Yes. All design alternatives will consider accommodations for bicycle and pedestrians to safely cross the corridor.
Yes, all at-grade intersections throughout the corridor are being evaluated for potential interim design improvements. KDOT has implemented one change with the closure of Kasold/East 1200 Road/K-10. Additionally, advanced warning devices will be installed in 2019 for the traffic signal at 27th Street/Wakarusa Drive/K-10. Further changes will be shared with the public as they become available.
Only new lanes could be tolled. A new lane added on an existing four lane highway could be tolled as a ‘hot lane’ to allow traffic willing to pay the toll to use the lane for a more premium service. There would still be two additional lanes in each direction available without a toll.
The tolls collected on the SLT could not be used for any other state purposes, but the SLT.
If tolling were implemented on the SLT, it would be All Electronic Tolling (AET), which requires no stopping, no tickets and no toll booths that you may experience on other toll roads. It would look and feel like a typical freeway. AET is part of the future vision for tolling across the country, and if implemented, is a method of collecting tolls using electronic transponders (K-TAGS) or license plate images.
KDOT will not actively pursue tolling on a project if the community does not want it. If a community is interested in exploring tolling, they need to contact DKOT and request that a feasibility study be done. Based on that study, along with the results of a public outreach process, the community and KDOT would discuss with the Kansas Turnpike Authority Board. Ultimately, the State Finance Council would decide if a project should be tolled.
A viable funding source(s), including tolling, must be identified as part of the SEIS process. If tolling is ruled out too early, the SEIS process would need to be repeated, wasting valuable time and effort.
No, KDOT has not made any decisions on how to pay for any improvements to the SLT and is exploring different funding options. The SEIS will evaluate a broad range of funding sources based on their potential feasibility, the amount of money they would generate, and other social, economic and environmental impacts and benefits.
Yes, the following interim improvements will be made:
– North Junction (K-10/I-70) – Light pole for K-10/Farmer’s Turnpike, Construction Fall 2019
– North Junction (K-10/I-70) – Pavement markings and rumble strips, timeline TBD
– K-10/27th – Queue Backup Warning System, Operational May 2019
– K-10/27th – Advanced Signal Warning System, Construction Spring 2020
– K-10/27th – Interim Intersection Improvements Study, Report Complete Fall 2019
– SLT Corridor (I-70 to East 23rd St. Interchange) – Three Dynamic Message Signs, Construction Spring 2020