Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2003

KDOT unveils plan for K-7 interchange construction

June 19, 2003

The Kansas Department of Transportation unveiled its concept for replacing the Kansas Highway 7- U.S. 24/40 interchange Tuesday, June 17 at its Bonner Springs headquarters.

The $30.5 million project entails replacing the current interchange, a cloverleaf configuration built in 1956, with a semi-cloverleaf, KDOT officials said.

As part of the same project, KDOT is planning to improve and widen 24/40 to six lanes, three heading in each direction, from North 142nd Street, near the Leavenworth-Wyandotte County line, to North 118th Street.

Both projects include widening the roadway to six lanes, although only the outer four lanes will be built initially. The other lanes will be built as more funding becomes available.

The project will be let for construction in 2006 and roadwork is slated to begin in the spring of that year. The project is scheduled for completion by early 2007.

State transportation officials said the improvements would be designed to meet expected 20-year traffic volumes; a recent KDOT study indicates as many as 22,700 vehicles travel near the Kansas Highway 7 interchange per day and as many as 14,000 vehicles travel 24/40.

The department of transportation expects those numbers to balloon to more than 54,000 cars near the K-7 interchange and 43,000 on 24/40 per day by 2026.

Given current and expected growth in Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties, the interchange and 24/40 will not be able to accommodate an increase in traffic volumes, transportation officials said.

When construction begins, through traffic will not be shut down. At least one lane in each direction will be kept open, KDOT representative Ron Kauffman said.

"We don't ever plan to have U.S. 24 or K-7 completely closed," Kauffman said.

Several access points along 24/40 and K-7 will be closed or relocated as part of the project. New locations of access points have not been determined.

Transportation department officials said the project is still in the early phases of design, which would continue until construction begins. Also, obtaining land easements and relocating utility lines has yet to begin.

The project is funded through the System Enhancement Program, a comprehensive transportation program initiated by the Kansas Legislature in 1999. The System Enhancement Program has a budget of $1 billion.

Transportation department officials said applications for enhancement projects were taken from across the state after local governments applied for more than $5 billion in projects.

Unified Government of Wyandotte County applied for the 24/40 and K-7 interchange work.

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