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Archive for Monday, December 15, 2008

Planners peer into future of local transportation projects

December 15, 2008

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Transportation leaders are gearing up for a brainstorming session next week that could help guide investments statewide in the coming years.

But first they need to know what they’re dealing with.

“This is step one,” said Ron Kauffman, chief of the Bureau of Public Involvement at the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The department, working with the Mid-America Regional Council and the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Office, will convene a transportation summit Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan.

The goal: Get city officials, transportation planners, private developers and others with knowledge of the area’s future to share numbers, trends and observations of what they know, and what they expect to be coming.

Then officials at Parsons Brinckerhoff, a national traffic consulting firm, will combine the information with statistical and other data already being collected as part of the firm’s $1 million contract with the department for the first phase of a comprehensive traffic study.

The first phase, to be completed by the end of 2009, will determine both where traffic stands and where it’s headed in a region that encompasses Douglas, Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties.

After that, Kauffman said, it’ll be time to determine what to do about it.

“This is the information that we need, on which we build solutions,” he said. “We need to understand the problems first. This is the diagnostic part; we treat the problems later.”

The department has not yet set aside money to finance the second phase of the study, the one expected to set priorities for the area’s needs and then develop strategies for addressing them.

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