KDOT to propose safety upgrades for 5 intersections on west leg of K-10

photo by: Elvyn Jones

The Kansas Department of Transportation is studying accident and traffic speed statistics at the Kansas Highway 10/Wakarusa Drive intersection and four other at-grade intersections on K-10's west leg in preparation of recommending safety improvements.

Engineers with the Kansas Department of Transportation next month will present to the Douglas County Commission proposals for improving safety at five at-grade intersections on the west leg of Kansas Highway 10.

KDOT is currently reviewing accident and speed statistics for the K-10 intersections at Kasold Drive, Wakarusa Drive, North 1800 Road and the ramps north and south of Interstate 70, said Laurie Arellano, KDOT director of communications. All the intersections are on the 19-mile, two-lane portion of K-10 from U.S. Highway 59 to North 1800 Road, which is also known as the Farmer’s Turnpike.

Once that review is complete, KDOT will present safety upgrade proposals for the five intersections to the County Commission. Arellano anticipated that presentation would be in October, but it has not yet been scheduled. Commissioners will then have the opportunity to respond to recommendations, which could require the county to share in the cost of improvements.

The priority intersection on the list is the K-10/Kasold Drive interchange because of the number of accidents at that location, Arellano said. KDOT traffic counts show that the average daily number of vehicles at that interchange has increased from 6,080 to 18,400 since the four-lane east leg of K-10 opened in November 2016.

The review of the five at-grade intersections is not part of the planned environmental impact study on the K-10 west leg, Arellano said. That three-year study is required before the section of K-10 can be expanded to four lanes. However, any recommended changes to the five interchanges would be done with the west leg’s future expansion in mind because KDOT would not make expensive alterations that would be replaced with the highway’s expansion, nor would the highway department make extensive changes outside of the public information and comment opportunities that are part of the environmental impact study, she said.

The first public meeting for the environmental impact study on the K-10 west leg expansion will be this fall, although no date has been set, Arellano said.

No funding for the K-10 west leg expansion is in place, Arellano said. However, Gov. Jeff Colyer has appointed a Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force to make recommendations to the Kansas Legislature in January on what should be included and funded in the state’s next 10-year transportation plan. The K-10 west leg expansion is one of the emerging needs KDOT has identified for possible inclusion in the next state transportation plan, along with 23 highway projects that were to be part of the state’s current T-Works transportation plan, but were deferred when the state reallocated KDOT revenue for other purposes.

Keith Browning, Douglas County Public Works director, said the task force had the first of the 10 public hearings it has scheduled statewide on Sept. 6 in Salina.

The task force will not meet in Lawrence, but representatives from the City of Lawrence and the county will make the case for the K-10 west leg expansion at the task force’s Nov. 8 meeting in Olathe, he said.

The Douglas County representatives will present to a task force with no Douglas County representatives.

Browning said he didn’t think the absence of a Douglas County member on the task force or lack of a Lawrence hearing would hurt the K-10 west leg’s chances of inclusion in a new state transportation plan.

“I don’t think there’s any question about the need,” he said. “It will all come down to funding.”


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