Counties Passed through: Sherman, Thomas, Logan, Gove, Trego, Ellis, Russell, Lincoln, Ellsworth, Saline, Dickinson, Geary, Riley, Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Douglas, Leavenworth, Wyandotte
The first segment of what would become I-70 (excluding the turnpike) was opened on November 14, 1956 — the first project completed under the 1956 Federal Highway Act — for about 8 miles west of Topeka. This segment was completed as a two-lane project — the other carriageway would be built later. By 1963, the freeway was open from the Polk-Quincy Viaduct in Downtown Topeka to US 81 in Salina as well as between Ogallah and Grainfield. The Segment between Salina and Wilson was completed in 1964, bypassing Ellsworth. K-140 was created to connect Salina to Ellsworth on old US 40. The segment between Levant and Ogallah was opened to traffic in 1965, with the stretch between Grainfield and Wilson opened to traffic in November of 1966 . The final stretch of I-70 in Kansas, near Goodland, was opened to traffic in August of 1970 (Schirmer 5-10).
I-70 was initially connected to the Kansas Turnpike via a partial interchange with the original US 40 Spur. The original plans called for the interchange to eventually be expanded to a full cloverleaf, and that the freeway would continue east and north as the Deer Creek Expressway. Despite the fact that the Deer Creek expressway had been languishing for many years, the partial interchange configuration remained until at least 1977. By the early 90s, the US 40 spur was abandoned, and I-70 would be realigned to remove the partial interchange completely. In the 1990's, the Deer Creek expressway would be renamed the Oakland Expressway, designated as K-4, and selected as a KDOT system enhancement project. The Oakland project, combined with the fact that the East Topeka interchange was overburdened, led to a project to rebuild the East Topeka interchange. Construction of the new interchange, with new flyover connections between I-70, the Turnpike, and the Oakland Expressway, was built between 1999 and 2001.
The Kansas Turnpike between East Topeka and K-10 at Lecompton was widened from 4 to six lanes between 2004 and 2006. The bridges over the Kansas River at Lawrence, along with adjacent bridges, were replaced between 2009 and 2011. The new Westbound bridge over the Kansas River was completed in November 2009, and initially carried both directions of traffic. During late 2009 and early 2010, the original bridges over the river were demolished. The new eastbound bridge was completed in late 2010.Junction Guide
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