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.

Driven By Vision

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. Click on an image to download a section.

Introduction 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

The Eastern Terminal

The Eastern TerminalThe 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.



Kansas Turnpike Authority


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 have 22

Traffic (2012)

35,596,150 vehicles

Net Toll Revenue (2012)

$87.5 million

Legislation passed

April 7, 1953

Ground Breaking

December 31, 1954

Opened to Traffic

October 25, 1956

Avg Passenger Trip

38 miles

Avg Commercial Trip

63 miles