KDOT pushes forward with K-7 plan
Bonner Springs Officials with the Kansas Department of Transportation and their consultants this week updated area officials on their continuing quest to map out the future of Kansas Highway 7.
Armed with oversized aerial maps, the transportation officials detailed how they envision transforming the highway in the coming 30 years, including locations for interchanges, overpasses and frontage roads along the corridor from Lansing to Olathe.
Lansing officials said there were no surprises for the portion of K-7 in and around the city.
The highway would continue to be an "arterial road" north of Mary Street in Lansing but would transition into a four-lane limited access freeway as it winds south. Frontage roads would run perpendicular to the highway beginning at Gilman Road and continue south into Wyandotte County. Interchanges would be built at McIntyre Road, Hollingsworth Road, Donahoo Road, Leavenworth Road and Parallel Parkway as the highway approaches U.S. 24-40. An overpass is slated at Marxen Road.
"They worked pretty well with us, and it's pretty close to what we wanted," City Administrator Mike Smith said. "But it's years out" from being built.
Joe Brand, project manager for HNTB, a consultant to KDOT on the project, told the local government officials the plan was just the beginning.
"What our next challenge is on this project is to work with the communities and hammer out the details of the memos of understandings, which will lay out what KDOT and the communities need to do over the next 20 to 30 years to carry out the plan of the K-7 corridor," he said.
In a meeting of the same group of officials in December, Brand said that leaving K-7 as is was not an option. HNTB has projected that, with anticipated traffic growth, by 2030 it would take more than two hours to drive from the Johnson-Miami County line to Lansing along K-7 if nothing were done to the highway; today it takes about 40 minutes.
To that end, KDOT's Terry Heidner reminded the local officials that the future of K-7 depended on the local communities as much as the state. Thus far, the only funding the state has provided is for the initial planning.
"We are going to have to all pay for this - not just KDOT. People are going to have to bring money to the table : lots of money : lots of money. That's just the truth of the matter. I'd rather be brutally honest than have the expectations that we can't meet night," said Heidner, director of planning and development at KDOT. "
"It's a long-term project, and I bet most of it - if not all of it - can be done in 20 or 30 years, some much sooner. It won't happen overnight. We don't have much money to bring to the table right now, but we will have some eventually."
Though the plan is for the long term, Mayor Kenneth Bernard said the city would begin to incorporate the blueprint as Lansing develops to the south along K-7.
"It shows us the approximate alignment of entrances to the freeway and the reverse frontage roads," Bernard said.
Such information, Smith said, is vital as Lansing grows.
"It's important to tell us where the frontage roads and access is going to be," he said.
Plan to be put before public
The Kansas Department of Transportation and consultants from HNTB will conduct an open house later this month for the public to learn more about the future of the K-7 Corridor from Lansing to Spring Hill.
The open house is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the commons area at Mill Valley High School, 5900 Monticello Road, Shawnee.
Members of the KDOT and HNTB staffs, along with officials from communities along the corridor, will be on hand to discuss plans for K-7. Large aerial maps will detail the current corridor and KDOT's 30-year plan.
To get to Mill Valley High School, take K-7 to the Johnson Drive exit. Go east on Johnson Drive to Monticello Road. Then go south on Monticello to the high school.