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KDOT Prefers Eastern Alternate for US-59


February 24, 2000 (Release 00-022)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News Contact: Marty Matthews, (785) 296-3585

KDOT Prefers Eastern Alternate for US-59

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has advised all affected local governments that it continues to prefer an alignment for a new freeway between Ottawa and Lawrence that is approximately one mile east of the current US-59.

"We will retain this as our preferred alignment while we continue environmental analyses of the alternatives in the corridor and complete the required environmental documentation," said E. Dean Carlson, Kansas Secretary of Transportation.

The Secretary made the decision after hearing from the governing bodies in Baldwin City, Lawrence, Ottawa, Douglas County and Franklin County. In December, he had asked members of the five bodies to endorse one of two freeway alternatives for an improved US-59: the alignment approximately one mile to the east or an alignment adjacent to the existing alignment of US-59.

The Baldwin City commission endorsed the eastern alignment in January. The Lawrence City Commission endorsed the eastern alignment in February, as did the Ottawa City Commission. The Franklin County Commission said it would support whatever choice KDOT made. The Douglas County Commission chose to endorse neither alternative.

"I want to thank all of the members of each of those bodies for the time and effort they put into this process," said Secretary Carlson. "I realize that they had to wrestle with some difficult issues and concerns. Their input is appreciated, and KDOT looks forward to continuing working with them so that this important project can move forward."

Secretary Carlson also pointed out that KDOT received input from hundreds of individuals through public meetings, written and oral comments, and petitions. KDOT held its initial public meetings on the project in August 1998 and held its latest public meeting on November 9, 1999.

KDOT will now move ahead with the next steps in the process. Those include:

   - Completing the environmental analysis and documentation
   - Conducting field surveys
   - Preparing the  preliminary design
   - Right-of-way appraisal and acquisition
   - Preparing final design plans

While they are listed sequentially, some of these steps may take place at the same time. KDOT estimates that it will be five to seven years before a contract is let on this project and construction begins.