Length: 36.611 miles
Junction US 40, 6th and Iowa Street, Lawrence (1956-1996)
I-70/Kansas Turnpike Exit 197 northwest of Lawrence (1996-)
I-435 exit 1B (de facto)/I-35 exit 222 (de jure) in Lenexa (1984-)
Counties Passed through: Dickinson, Morris, Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Jefferson, Douglas, Johnson, Wyandotte
In 1929, K-10 began at US 50N at Herington, proceeded north and east through White City, Dwight, Alta Vista, and Alma, and McFarland before turning east at Paxico and entering Topeka on 10th Avenue to US 75, then north across the Kansas River at the Topeka Boulevard bridge. Once across the river, K-10 followed the north bank of the river, and turned east through Grantville, Newman, and Perry before meeting US 73W at Williamstown. K-10 followed US 73W through Lawrence before turning east to Kansas City. By 1932, K-10 had been paved from Kansas City west to the Douglas/Johnson County line, and from Lawrence to Grantville; as well as gravel from the Douglas/Johnson County line to Lawrence, west out of Topeka to Valencia Road, and between Paxico and Alma.
In May 1935, the road was in the process of being paved from the Douglas/Johnson County Line to Eudora, and bids were taken to finish paving the road west to Lawrence. A Newspaper article from May 1935 indicated that the newly-paved roadway would feature an "experimental" section - a 20-foot road on 120-foot right of way, with shoulders and ditches to meet the specifications of a "modal highway" At the same time, the highway was being paved from Topeka to Valencia Road, and graveled from Paxico to Alma as well as Alta Vista to Dwight. The May 1935 article indicated that K-10 would be rerouted on the alignment of US 40 south of the Kansas River, while US 40 would follow K-10's alignment north of the river, easing congestion in Downtown Lawrence. K-10 was routed onto US 40's alignment, but US 40 was not re-routed. Instead, US 24 was extended west from Kansas City and taking K-10's alignment between Lawrence and Topeka.
By 1941, the alignment between Valencia Road and Paxico was straightened and graveled, and graveled from Alta Vista to Herington. By 1954, the entire route was paved between Topeka and Alma and between Alta Vista and Dwight. The part between Dwight and Herington was paved by 1956.
In August of 1955, a new connection from K-99 between Eskridge and Alma west to Alta Vista was designated, bypassing the last unpaved section of K-10 (which had been graveled). While the new route was built as part of K-10, it was never signed as such. In January of 1956, K-10 between Herington and Alta Vista, along with the new route under construction between Alta Vista and K-99, was re-designated as K-4. The change was effective when the new road opened to traffic. Some time between 1953 and 1956, US 40 was moved onto K-10's route. Thus, when the new road was opened to traffic, K-10's concurrency with K-99 and US 40 was also removed, shifting K-10's west end to Lawrence.
Prior to 1956, K-10 and US 73W (later US 59) were routed along Massachusetts Street through Downtown Lawrence to US 40. When a new road, today known as Iowa Street, was built on what was then the west side of town, K-10 and US 59 were routed along it to 40.
The K-10 Freeway began construction in 1974. The first section completed was the section from Lexington Avenue in DeSoto to K-7 north of Olathe, which opened to traffic on November 8, 1976. The section from Lawrence to DeSoto opened in 1978. The section from K-7 east to I-435, at first known as K-12, began construction in 1980. In August of 1982, the grading was completed, but work stopped until the beginning of 1984. The last stretch of road was completed December 18, 1984. At the time the freeway was being planned, the highway commission considered re-aligning K-10 to bypass Lawrence. Although the bypass was dropped, it would be revived by Douglas County.
The South Lawrence Trafficway was first proposed by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce in 1985. Douglas County issued $4 million in bonds to entice KDOT to fund the route. A 1987 lawsuit by Les Blevins of rural Lawrence challenged the county's authority to issue the bonds without a public vote. Ultimately, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that Douglas County should have held a vote, initially ordering the bonds suspended pending a vote. Later, the ruling would be revised to indicate that Douglas County's bond issue could proceed without a vote; however, similar issues in the future would require a public vote before the bonds are issued. A referendum on the SLT bonds was held in November of 1990 in favor of the road. Opponents sued again, saying that a explanatory statement was biased. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that due to the circumstances, the referendum was advisory, meaning that the county could legally proceed on the trafficway even if the referendum had been rejected.
The SLT began construction on the western leg in 1994 and completed in late 1996. In 1993, Haskell Indian Nations University complained that the SLT as proposed would negatively affect the university, particularly cultural and religious practices held along the south end, near where the trafficway was to be built. The Federal Highway Administration ordered a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement drafted. The parties could not agree on a final routing, so the Federal Highway Administration attempted to withdraw from the project. A lawsuit by trafficway opponents successfully resulted in an injunction that suspended any construction activity until the SEIS was completed. The lack of consensus remained, and the final SEIS was published with a "no action" decision to remove the court injunctions. Soon afterward, KDOT started the process on a new EIS, with a 32nd Street alignment, approximately 1/8 mile south of 31st, and relocating 31st off of the Haskell right of way, as well as a more extensive mitigation proposal for the Baker Wetlands than previously discussed. The Final EIS, released in early 2003, approves the 32nd Street alignment. It was subsequently adopted by the Federal Highway Administration in February 2008. Opponents to the 32nd Street alignment, led by the Prairie Band Pottawatomie tribe, filed a suit against the Federal Highway Administration and KDOT challenging that the 2003 EIS was biased toward the 32nd Street alternative, that an alignment suggested by the tribe had been improperly rejected, the noise study was done incorrectly, and that the cost of the 32nd Street alternative was under-estimated. The US District Court ruled in November 2010 that the noise study was not properly done, and that the cost of the 32nd Street alignment was under-estimated; however, the court also rejected the allegation of bias and the tribe's suggestion had been properly considered and rejected, ultimately finding in favor of the FHwA and KDOT. The plaintiffs filed an appeal of the ruling in April 2011. Part of the mitigation area on the west side of the existing wetlands was completed in 2010. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court's decision in July, 2012.
The SLT was let in August of 2013 and constructed between 2014 and 2016. It opened to traffic on November 9, 2016.Average Annual Daily Traffic
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