The SLT Project History
With the history and concern surrounding the SLT, the Kansas Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), recognizes the importance of reviewing past environmental studies to determine what may have changed in the corridor.
From 2014-2016, KDOT conducted the K-10 West Leg Concept Study, 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 National Environmental Policy Act (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 FHWA and KDOT to recommend 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 area.
In September of 2018, KDOT and FHWA initiated an SEIS for improvements to the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT). The SEIS complies with the NEPA and will take a comprehensive approach to reviewing past alternatives and documenting any additional impacts.
A previous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was prepared in 1990 for the overall SLT study area. The purpose and need stated in that EIS was to relieve congestion on existing 23rd Street and Iowa Street by diverting through and local traffic from these two existing streets and Clinton Parkway, thereby achieving an improved level of service on the local street network. The goals of the current proposed project on the West Leg are to increase capacity, enhance safety, and promote a multi-modal transportation system, support local and regional growth while minimizing or avoiding impacts to sensitive project environmental features within the project footprint. Also, the project will provide an efficient and cost-effective transportation facility for users of K-10 Highway and the surrounding state highway system.
As an outcome of the approved 1990 EIS, two expressway lanes of the West Leg were constructed and opened to traffic in 1996. The East Leg was not constructed and a subsequent SEIS with a “No Build” decision was approved in 2000. A subsequent EIS, in conjunction with a USACE 404 Permit, was completed in 2002 and adopted and approved by FHWA in November 2007, with a Record of Decision (ROD) issued in May 2008. Since the completion of the ROD, the East Leg four-lane freeway was constructed and opened to traffic in 2016.
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 alternatives for the entire SLT study area. Roadway configuration options will be evaluated, including upgrading the West Leg as a four-lane freeway with controlled access and interchanges at West 6th Street/U.S. 40, Bob Billings Parkway, Clinton Parkway, an interchange between Wakarusa Drive and 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.