Archive for Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Residents give input on I-70 changes

April 11, 2006


— Julie Downes firmly believes that both ends of Leavenworth County Road 1 should be treated equally.

"Most of the traffic is coming from the south," Downes said. "That's what I want - I want both roads to be done at the same time. This isn't the Civil War - it's not the North and the South."

Downes and about 70 other Leavenworth County residents met with Leavenworth County commissioners Monday in Leavenworth. Their purpose: to ensure, if Kansas Turnpike Authority builds a turnpike interchange on County Road 1, that the county road is improved on both sides of the turnpike. The proposed interchange is about eight miles east of the East Lawrence exit, near Tonganoxie.

In January, KTA announced plans to build the interchange on a stretch of road that carries tens of thousands of commuters between Lawrence and Kansas City every day. Lawrence officials, including city commissioners David Schauner and Boog Highberger, have said the interchange could hurt Lawrence - but neither attended Monday's meeting.

KTA's approval depends on a commitment from Leavenworth County to improve three miles of County Road 1 between Tonganoxie and the turnpike

But some area residents, particularly those who live near the planned interchange, say three more miles of the road should be improved - south of the turnpike to Kansas Highway 32.

John Pettingill, who lives near County Road 1, even suggested the county take the improvement farther, edging another three miles south, to the Kansas River just north of Eudora.

Downes said a KTA study showed two-thirds of vehicles using the interchange would come from the south.

"Leavenworth County Road 1 is a narrow, hilly, chip-and-seal roller coaster with steep ravines and no shoulders on much of the route," she said.

She noted the south portion of the road, from the turnpike to K-32, has numerous homes.

"The first mile and a half on the south side is as residential as areas I've lived in in Kansas City or Topeka," Downes said. "There's 23 houses in the mile and a half."

Lawrence, Eudora affected

Chris Dunn, Leavenworth County's director of planning, reviewed the history of the county's push for a turnpike interchange, saying it began in the 1990s.

And, Dunn said, the project is larger than putting an interchange in Leavenworth County.

Dunn showed a Kansas City-area map that speculated about future traffic patterns.

This noted a possible cross-country road that would connect County Road 1 with Kansas Highway 10 - east or west of Eudora. Depending on its route, the road could hook into Gardner, near Interstate 35, or head west to Lawrence.

That would mean constructing a new bridge over the Kansas River, Dunn said. He noted a bridge currently crosses at Eudora.

"They're not going to be able to squeeze it (turnpike traffic) into Eudora," Dunn said. "It's going to have to go either east or west of Eudora."

Commission chairman Dean Oroke was among officials who traveled to Washington, D.C., this year to lobby for funds to improve roads.

It's expected Congress will announce federal highway funding in June or July, he said.

After the meeting, Commissioner Clyde Graeber said he wasn't sure whether Monday's meeting resolved anything.

"I think it is important though," Graeber said. "I want to at least send our people out to County Road 1 to have it looked at - what can we do to improve the safety if possible - if not, maybe we need to look at it more."

County Road 1


Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

This is where Leavenworth,Douglas and Johnson counties along with the KTA can work as partners to build a bridge across the river. Turn the entire project over to KTA once the bridges are constructed. KTA user fees can then be applied to the highway(road) portion and future maintenance of the bridges. Now we have I-70 connectors.

If all concerned officials were smart they would avoid all conflict with residents. Otherwise the construction will be a long time coming.

lunacydetector 12 years, 2 months ago

this road will truly be a progressive approach in punishing lawrence for taking 20+ years for our incomplete SLT bypass. hats off to eudora and tonganoxie for embracing their growth opportunity. when finished, the citizens of these towns can kick back and laugh at lawrence, if they aren't already.

way to go lawrence!

moveforward 12 years, 2 months ago

When the 'no growthers' win, we all lose. When the 'pave it overs' win, they get rich, but the local economy is healthy and convenience and safety are well served. Those who are jealous of those people more motivated, will always work to slow progress. One thing is for sure, you CANNOT keep Lawrence the same small village it once was for ever. Change is innevitable. Change can be good.

The most obvious oximoron in Lawrence is the Smart Growth constituency.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

We also know that the trafficway supporters like the SOR route for their bypass in addition to their trafficway.
Let's forget the trafficway and agree on the SOR bypass tying it into existing interchange 1057 and K10 to take traffic north to I 70 by way of constructing I-70 connectors to an eastern Tongie KTA interchange now on the table. Running I-70 connectors through Eudora would be a slow boat to I-70. This I-70 at K10& 1057 connectors idea accomplishes many things such as providing a complete loop around Lawrence.

Additionally: A. Services JOCO and Douglas County traffic going to NW Lawrence or Topeka B. Services the Eudora Business Park east of 1057 C. Services East Hills Business Park and the SE Work Center area west of 1057 D. Diverts traffic out around the city as it should E. Keeps the SLT entirely out of the wetlands F. Reduces traffic substantially on 31st G. Working with the Kansas Turnpike Authority could save Douglas County taxpayers untold millions of dollars. H. This concept potentially brings Douglas, JOCO, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties together as partners to assist in funding. I. Building a road through the wetlands at any cost at this point in time is simply not prudent use of Douglas County tax dollars. J. eliminates the need for an eastern bypass as well K. services the Lawrence airport

Richard Heckler 12 years, 2 months ago

But also provides excellent access if Lawrence develops it's light industrial further that should bring excellent paying jobs. It certainly is a great plan for East Hills Business park.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.