Plan suggests toll lanes on K-10 to Lawrence

L Kansas 10 between Lawrence and Johnson County would become a partial toll road under a long-range plan for future highway projects, the Kansas Department of Transportation said.

The plan suggests that sometime between 2030 and 2040, the highway should be widened to six lanes by adding “high occupancy toll (HOT)” lanes, in each direction. Mass transit and car pool vehicles could use the HOT lanes for free, but single-occupant vehicles would pay a toll.

The recommendation is part of the Five County Regional Transportation Study compiled by the Transportation Department, the Lawrence-Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Office and the Mid-America Regional Council.

The report will be used to identify projects for a future multiyear transportation program after the current program ends in 2020.

The cost of adding the HOT lanes from Lawrence to Interstate 435 in the Kansas City area is estimated at $205.6 million, according to the report.

Douglas County Commissioner Mike Gaughn, who served on the planning group, said that as development continues along the heavily used Lawrence-to-Kansas City route, there will be a need to widen Kansas 10, and toll lanes may be the only viable way of funding it.

“The traditional source of funding is fuel taxes,” Gaughan said. “As cars and trucks become more efficient and use less fuel, there will necessarily be less funding derived from that source. You’re obviously seeing this across the country, and tolling is becoming a more regular way to fund projects on this scale.”

Some other recommendations for Kansas 10 beginning around 2020 include widening the existing road from Interstate 70 to U.S. 59 in the Lawrence area, at a cost of $98.5 million; widening Kansas 10 between Kansas 7 and Interstate 435 to eight lanes for $82.2 million; and building a bicycle path along Kansas 10 across Kansas 7 to connect with existing paths, at a cost of $1.1 million.