New Kansas turnpike exit to be first run by machine

LAWRENCE | A new Kansas Turnpike exit under construction east of Lawrence will be the first to be run solely by machines.

The state expects to finish the $16.7 million exit at mile 212, in Leavenworth County, at the end of 2009.

The plan to have no employees there is part of a larger effort by the Kansas Turnpike Authority to reduce its staff of toll-takers from 200 to 180. The authority plans to eliminate low-traffic shifts at 10 exits.

Automatic Toll Payment Machines will tell drivers, by video, how to insert turnpike tickets, then take coins, bills or credit cards for payment.

However, officials say employees at another location will be accessible through video and audio to answer questions.