De Soto An interchange modification is all that's needed for access to the theme park, according to a developer.
State transportation officials have done no analysis of what a proposed Wonderful World of Oz theme park might mean for traffic on Kansas Highway 10, the southern four-lane link between Lawrence and Kansas City.
"We haven't done anything specifically factoring in Oz," said Marty Matthews, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
But Oz developers, still planning to break ground this fall on the $770 million theme park, say 95 percent of the traffic will come from the east and that the road already is adequate for the crowds expected at what developers call a Disneyland-like attraction. The park is to be at the northeast corner of the mothballed Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant near here.
"We've done a lot of traffic planning," said Oz president Skip Palmer. "The most important question, the one people ask the most, is what it will mean for K-10. There will be no need, now or in the future, to add additional capacity to K-10. Our peak arrival and departure time will be Saturday around 10 a.m., a noncommuter time."
Palmer said the only significant road change necessary will be modification of the interchange at K-10 and Lexington Road.
"We will not interfere with existing, local traffic while modifying the interchange in a fashion that will allow traffic from east, which is 95 percent of our traffic, to exit" at a higher speed, Palmer said.
Palmer and Matthews said the developers had met with KDOT officials, but only so KDOT planners could review the feasibility of the Oz road plan. Matthews said KDOT has formally approved nothing and that Oz developers would pay and likely contract for any interchange improvements, which ultimately would be done with KDOT approval and oversight from agency inspectors.
"They've done nothing official with us on the interchange," Matthews said. "Our entire connection is they have brought some plans over here for us to look at. There's been no discussion of KDOT assistance or funding in any way, shape, or form."
The assurances of no traffic snarls, if and when the theme park is built and operating, don't set well with many nearby residents.
"My greatest concern is the impact on this rural area in terms of traffic, light, sound. That's one set of concerns," said Roger Ramseyer, who lives about a mile south and east of the proposed development.
KDOT counts vehicles along four stretches of K-10 between Lawrence and metropolitan Kansas City, Matthews said. The eastern leg between Interstate 35 and Kansas Highway 7 currently is the most heavily traveled. Average daily vehicle load there is about 36,000 per day, he said.
Other K-10 averages:
- About 26,000 vehicles daily between the K-10/K-7 intersection and DeSoto.
- About 23,000 between Eudora and DeSoto.
- And about 28,000 between Lawrence and Eudora.
Matthews said KDOT expects sometime in June or July to receive a consultant's report, including projections, on traffic flow north and south of the turnpike between Topeka and Kansas City. But, he said, the consultant is making no estimate based on potential Oz traffic.
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