Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2007

KTA announces increase in turnpike fares beginning July 1

May 9, 2007

Start digging through the sofa cushions.

New tolls starting July 1 will cost area motorists a few extra nickels and dimes to travel to Topeka or Kansas City on the Kansas Turnpike.

Kansas Turnpike Authority officials announced Monday that fees for most turnpike trips would increase by approximately 5 percent come July 1.

Lisa Callahan, a spokeswoman for the turnpike authority, said the toll increase was needed to keep up with escalating costs and to help pay for future big-ticket items. The largest pending project is the rebuilding of the two turnpike bridges that cross the Kansas River between the North Lawrence and West Lawrence interchanges.

"We need the increase to keep up with our operating costs and for capital intensive programs like the Kansas River bridge project," Callahan said. "Our philosophy has been to have small, modest increases periodically rather than large increases less often."

The construction project -- slated to begin in 2008 -- would replace the approximately 50-year-old bridges. The new bridges would be wide enough to accommodate three lanes of traffic in each direction, although there aren't immediate plans to widen that stretch of road to three lanes. The project is expected to cost about $140 million, or roughly the same amount as the entire turnpike cost to construct in the mid-1950s.

The toll increases are not across the board. Depending on where they start and where the end, some motorists may not see an increase at all. Here's a look at some of the more popular Lawrence routes:

  • From the East Lawrence interchange to the West Lawrence interchange, tolls will be unchanged at 25 cents.
  • From the East Lawrence interchange to the Lecompton interchange, tolls will be unchanged at 40 cents.
  • From the East Lawrence interchange to the East Topeka interchange, tolls will be unchanged at $1.
  • From the East Lawrence interchange to the South Topeka interchange, tolls will increase 5 cents to $1.20.
  • From the East Lawrence interchange to the terminal near Bonner Springs, tolls will increase 5 cents to $1.40.
  • From the West Lawrence interchange to the East Topeka interchange, tolls will be unchanged at 85 cents.
  • From the West Lawrence interchange to the South Topeka interchange, tolls will increase 10 cents to $1.10.
  • From the West Lawrence interchange to the terminal near Bonner Springs, tolls will increase 5 cents to $1.45.
  • From the Lecompton interchange to the East Topeka interchange, tolls will be unchanged at 70 cents.
  • From the Lecompton interchange to the South Topeka interchange, tolls will increase 5 cents to 90 cents.

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