History of the Kansas Turnpike Construction Photo
The Beginning
Between the world wars, toll roads and turnpikes became a popular way for states to keep pace with Americans' growing infatuation with the automobile. But more important than the wants of the country are its needs. And the idea made sense to many Kansans for several reasons. While the Chamber wanted to connect the three largest cities in Kansas for economic development, other proponents knew how such a link would also make life easier and safer for Kansans who regularly traveled dangerous two-lane highways.
KTA Interchange Photo
The Eastern Terminal at milepost 217 leads to the end of the Kansas Turnpike at milepost 236. From there the road travels to the heart of Kansas City. Though the Turnpike spans the entire state of Kansas from north to south, short distance commuters also make up a considerable percentage of Turnpike customers, particularly in the urban corridor stretching through Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City.

Turnpike Overview

Kansas Turnpike Authority
Age: 50 Years
Length: 236 miles from Kansas City, Kansas, to the Oklahoma border south of Wichita.
Service Areas: Six, near Lawrence, Topeka, Emporia, Matfield Green, Towanda and Belle Plaine.
Number of interchanges: started with 14, and currently 21
2006 Miles Traffic: 32,755,932 vehicles
2006 Net Toll Revenue: $75.7 million.
Ground Breaking: December 31, 1954.
Opened to traffic: October 25, 1956
Average Passenger trip: 40 miles
Average commercial trip: 62 miles


Whether heading to a day at the office, going to attend classes at a university, or stepping out for a weekend shopping trip, travelers take advantage of one of the smoothest and safest rides in the state, the Kansas Turnpike.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, the Turnpike compiled its story into a 40-page book. Read the Turnpike's history here in PDF format, from its inception to current day projects.

A note from Michael L. Johnston


Chapter 1: The Birth of the Pike

Chapter 2: A Vision Builds

Chapter 3: The Early Years, Bumps and All

Chapter 4: The Road Grows Smoother

Chapter 5: Rolling Toward Tomorrow


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