Archive for Thursday, April 29, 2004

Highway discussion to resume

April 29, 2004

Nearly all cities in Leavenworth County agree that the best use for the Kansas Highway 7 corridor is as a freeway. Just one city has expressed contrary wishes, said Greg Kaaz, chairman of a Leavenworth Area Development infrastructure committee.

"Everybody except for Basehor," Kaaz said. "I think LAD's official position is (K-7) should be a freeway style."

The debate concerning the future of K-7 has been continuing since last year.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is working with cities along K-7 to form a design plan that would accommodate a free flow of traffic and commercial growth.

The options under consideration for K-7 are designing highway improvements as a freeway, with limited signalized traffic lights, or an expressway, which would allow lighted intersections and more commercial development.

Discussions regarding the corridor are set to resume Thursday when department of transportation representatives are scheduled to meet with the Leavenworth County Commission.

Kaaz said Leavenworth and Lansing residents use K-7 for easy access into Wyandotte and Johnson counties.

Without that convenient access, economic development in Lansing and Leavenworth will suffer, the committee contends.

Basehor city officials, however, do not favor the freeway concept because it would mean motorists would be driving through Basehor before coming to businesses in Bonner Springs to the south or Lansing and Leavenworth to the north.

Also, city officials have said, the freeway concept limits Basehor's potential to expand commercially along its portions of K-7.

The city doesn't want to lose potential tax revenue it could gain by K-7 developing as an expressway.

Leavenworth County Commission member Joe Daniels said he was unsure whether the three-member county commission would make a recommendation to the department of transportation on Thursday.

He said transportation officials called the Thursday meeting, which would most likely be for information gathering only.

Like Kaaz, Daniels agreed that Leavenworth County's hopes of being satisfied with improvements to K-7 hinge on "mending some fences and coming up with some resolution on these divergent paths."

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