See the Full Report for the Proposed Wakarusa Drive Extension
The proposed extension of Wakarusa Drive is a high priority improvement in the county’s road network. The proposed alignment will restore north-south connection for a large service area in southwest Douglas County, and provide Lawrence residents with increased access to city park facilities. The proposed road will be maintained by Douglas County.
County Commission Approval
County Commissioners approved the 2023-2027 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) during their business meeting on Nov. 9. The plan includes the future extension of Wakarusa Drive.
To view the Nov. 9 Commission meeting, visit: https://youtu.be/oFsTPXW7ZJQ
The proposed bridge over the Wakarusa River will replace three bridges that existed prior to construction of Clinton Lake and Highway K-10. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers removed the bridge on E1000 Road over the Wakarusa River in 1978. Not long after that, the city and county identified the need to restore that connection. The proposed extension of Wakarusa Drive was identified in the 1998 Comprehensive Plan, and subsequent city and county planning documents continue to show the proposed connection as a priority. This report revisits the history of those planning decisions.
The proposed roadway is necessary to respond to existing and future traffic volumes. Immediately upon opening, the road will carry an estimated 3,650 vehicles per day, making it one of the busiest county maintained routes. Similar traffic volumes exist on E2200 Road (Church Street) south of Eudora, E1500 Road (Haskell Ave) south of Lawrence, and E600 Road through Lecompton. Without this critical connection, existing traffic volume is diverted over Clinton Dam, or three miles east to US-59. The proposed alignment will reduce vehicle use by at least 1.6 million vehicle miles driven per year, and will shift traffic away from congested areas. The connection will also reduce frequent conflicts with pedestrians and bicyclists on the dam road.
The proposed roadway will be a lifeline to a large area of Douglas County. LDCFM response time from Station #4 will be reduced by three minutes for all of southwest Douglas County. The areas served include the town of Lone Star, Lone Star Lake, the town of Clinton, Bloomington Beach and Clinton Lake public use areas. Landowners in this area have been burdened with lack of access, particularly after KDOT closed E1200 Road (Kasold) in 2016.
Funding for the road project is proposed through a city/county partnership. Capital improvement funds from the county ($5.4 million), and the city ($3.6 million) have been planned for the project. The proposed project includes a shared use path, as identified on the Lawrence Bikeway System Map. The proposed roadway parallels the city limits and will provide additional access to city park facilities south of the river, including Eagle Bend Golf Course.
Implementation of the project has been delayed as KDOT finalizes plans for Highway K-10. The proposed alignment takes advantage of work planned by KDOT to construct the interchange at Wakarusa Drive. KDOT plans to include the Wakarusa extension project in the K-10 construction bid; which will lead to significant cost savings for the city and county. Based on current estimates, construction could begin in 2025.
Proposed Wakarusa Drive Extension
Presentation at Wakarusa Drive Extension town hall meeting on Sept. 29, 2022
Wakarusa Extension Project Presentation (PDF)
Q&A from town hall meeting about Wakarusa Drive extension project on Sept. 29, 2022