After more than two decades of argument, South Lawrence Trafficway to open; reflections on the fight that enveloped the community

The South Lawrence Trafficway surely must be the most debated stretch of concrete in Douglas County’s history.

Yes, there are some projects that perhaps could match it in ferocity: construction of the Clinton Lake Dam in the 1970s and plans to build a downtown mall in the 1980s come to mind. But on the menu of Douglas County donnybrooks, those were just appetizers. The South Lawrence Trafficway ended up being the all-you-can eat buffet.

It is not hyperbole to say the South Lawrence Trafficway was an active argument in Douglas County for nearly 25 years.

On Friday morning, state and local officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the eastern — and final — leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway bypass project. But just to drive home the point that delay is part of its DNA, the road won’t open for traffic until later in the month, likely by Thanksgiving.

(Read more: / Lawrence, Kansas)