Around 120 people showed up Tuesday night at Bonner Springs High School to attend a public meeting regarding the Kansas Highway 7 and Interstate 70 interchange project.
Officials from the Kansas Department of Transportation and GBA Architects Engineers were on hand to answer any questions visitors had about the project, which will create a tri-fold system of interchanges at K-7 and 130th Street, K-7 and I-70 and K-7 and Kansas Avenue. In addition, visitors were given the opportunity to fill out comment sheets with questions or concerns, view diagrams of the different phases of the project and watch a film of how the interchange system will look and how traffic will flow throughout.
Kim Qualls, public affairs manager with KDOT, said the diagrams and film shown at the meeting were not necessarily reflective of all the details that would be in the final design. She said that public meetings like this one, as well as a similar meeting held last February, were important in keeping communication open between KDOT and residents who will be affected by the interchange system.
“It gives them an opportunity to review what’s there and to understand and to ask questions,” Qualls said. “We want to get all the input so as we proceed forward … we can look at what everybody’s concerns are.”
Some at the meeting seemed happy with the final concept presented by KDOT and GBA. Bonner Springs resident Bob Cutting said he was thrilled with the idea of seeing a reduction in traffic at the current K-7 and I-70 interchange.
“Anything they can do to improve the traffic through there would be great,” he said.
Others expressed concern that it would affect business around Canaan Center Drive. Phil Hammond, vice president of sales with Kansas City-based brokerage company The Land Source, said his concern was that easy access to Canaan Center Drive and, by extension, a lucrative business sector would be things of the past with the proposed project.
“I’m representing clients around Canaan Center. It’s an interstate service area and if you don’t have easy access to it, it’s not gonna be an interstate service area,” Hammond said.
He said the meeting was really just a way for KDOT to tell people what it had already decided on, not to get any feedback from business owners affected by the project.
“This is the result, not input for it,” he said. “Over the whole, global thing, they’re basically saying ‘tough.’ ”