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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Winter 2003 arrow Kansas: Construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway, Lawrence
Kansas: Construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway, Lawrence

Agency: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Once completed, the South Lawrence Trafficway will provide a high-speed connection between the Kansas towns of Topeka and Lawrence and the metropolitan area of Kansas City, Missouri. The project calls for the replacement of a two-lane road in Lawrence with a four-lane freeway, a four-lane local road, bikeways, and noise-mitigation walls.

The proposed alternative would destroy a mile-long swath through the Baker Wetlands, a National Natural Landmark and a major component of a National Register-eligible historic district.

Many Indian tribes and environmental groups oppose the project, which would cause indirect effects to the wetlands and a portion of the campus of Haskell Indian Nations University, the Nationís only dedicated intertribal institution of higher learning.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a seven-mile stretch of the South Lawrence Trafficway in Lawrence, Kansas. The agencies’ preferred alternative is a four-lane high-speed freeway, a four-lane road for local traffic, and additional alignment for bikeways and noise mitigation walls, all to replace a two-lane surface road for local traffic.

Baker Wetlands, Lawrence, Kansas

 

 

Baker Wetlands, Lawrence, KS (staff photo)

 

 

The proposed alternative would destroy a mile-long swath of the Baker Wetlands, a National Natural Landmark and a major component of a National Register-eligible historic district associated with the historic farm and fields of Haskell Institute.

Haskell Institute was an early Indian boarding school that has evolved into Haskell Indian Nations University, the Nation’s only dedicated intertribal institution of higher learning. The university’s campus includes 11 historic structures and a cemetery associated with Haskell Institute’s early history and that make up the Haskell Institute National Historic Landmark District.

The wetlands and the southern part of the university’s campus are used by the university community and Native Americans for educational and spiritual purposes, and the proposed roads would limit access to the wetlands and cause visual and noise impacts to the area.

The university, Indian tribes and organizations, and environmental groups have voiced opposition to the destruction of part of the wetlands and the indirect effects to it and the southern part of the university campus.

In their December 2002 Final Environmental Impact Statement on the project, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Corps of Engineers determined that their preferred alternative is the alignment through the wetlands rather than an alternative across the Wakarusa River that would avoid the wetlands.

In January 2003, the ACHP notified the Corps of Engineers that it would participate in consultation because of the proposed project’s potential to substantially affect the historic district and the Baker Wetlands.

Staff contact: Margie Nowick


Posted May 6, 2003

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