Length: 370.10 miles
Junction US 59 Southeast of Nortonville (1995-present)
Counties Passed through: Scott, Lane, Ness, Rush, Barton, Rice, Ellsworth, McPherson, Saline, Dickinson, Morris, Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Jefferson, Atchison
The original alignment for K-4 east from Herrington was along US 50N to Council Grove, then it stair stepped to the northeast to K-11 at Eskridge, and on to Topeka, entering Topeka on 21st Street, turning north on Gage Blvd, crossing K-10 at 10th Street and following 6th Street east to Topeka Boulevard, where it joins US 75, US 40, and K-10 across the Topeka Boulevard Bridge. K-4 followed US 75 before turning due east to Meriden, then Stair stepped northeast to Valley Falls to K-24 at Valley Falls, followed K-24 east to US 73W, then followed 73W north to Nortonville, then headed northeast to Atchison, where it crossed the Missouri River and became MO 4. It was dirt west of La Crosse and between Council Grove and Eskridge, and hard surfaced between Marquette and Lindsborg, between Hope and Herrington, between Dover and Meriden, and between the south junction with US 73W and Atchison.
By 1936, US 73W south of Nortonville and K-4 between Nortonville and Atchison had been re-designated as US 59, and K-24 was re-designated as K-16. K-4 was duplexed with K-16 and US 59 between Valley Falls and Atchison. The segment between Valley Falls and Nortonville was sealed, and the dirt segment between La Crosse and the Ness/Lane county line had been graveled By 1941, K-4 in Scott and Lane Counties, as well as the Dirt section in Morris County, had been graveled, and K-4 was hard surfaced between McCracken and La Crosse and between Hoisington and Bushton. By 1945, the dirt segment in Wabaunsee County had also been graveled. By 1953, K-4 had been hard-surfaced between the west end at US 83 and US 283 at Ransom, and between the North Junction with US 81 north of Lindsborg and Herrington.
The old Brickyard bridge across the Kansas River in Topeka was destroyed in the 1951 flood, and a new bridge was constructed half a mile to the west. When the new Westgate bridge and adjoining roadway opened in 1955, it received the K-4 designation. From the north end of the Westgate, K-4 followed US 24 east to US 75.
By 1956, the sections from US 283 to McCracken, from Bushton to Crawford, and from Eskridge to Dover were paved. The final gravel sections of K-4 were eliminated by 1957 when the segment between Crawford and Marquette was paved, and the segment between Council Grove and Eskridge was bypassed when K-10 between Herrington and K-99, including a new road east out of Alta Vista, was re-designated as K-4, with K-4 following K-99 from the former K-10/K-99 junction east to Eskridge. By 1962, the Westgate bridge had been designated as Bypass US 75/K-4 and K-4 had been removed from Gage Boulevard and was moved onto I-70 between the Westgate bridge and Auburn Road, then south on Auburn Road to 21st.
In the early 60's, the stair step route between Meriden and Valley Falls was straightened. The south half of new roadway was completed by 1962, along with a new diagonal route between Nortonville and Cummings. The northern half of the diagonal was completed by 1963. By 1965, the diagonal roadway had been extended to US 24 at the Shawnee/Jefferson county line, with K-4 continuing east on US 24 from US 75 to the new roadway.
By 1969, US 59 was shifted onto a new route in northern Jefferson County. K-4 was not shifted onto the new route, and remained on the old US 59 until a new diagonal alignment was completed between Valley Falls and Nortonville by 1978.
When the new Oakland Expressway was completed in 1997, it was designated as K-4, and K-4 through Topeka was moved from US 24 to I-70. Initially, the Oakland Expressway ended at US 40/6th Avenue, and K-4 followed US 40 along 6th Avenue and the Deer Creek Parkway west to I-70. When the new East Topeka interchange opened in 2001, the Oakland Expressway was connected directly to I-70, and K-4 and US 40 were moved onto the new interchange.
The 1929 and 1931 State Highway Commission maps designate K-4 west of La Crosse as K-52 instead. All other maps have shown this as K-4, including a 1927 map, however.Average Annual Daily Traffic
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