Archive for Thursday, July 7, 2005

City Council to meet with K-7 engineers

City remains opposed to engineers’ highway recommendation

July 7, 2005

Whether comments from Basehor City Council members to engineers responsible for upgrades to the Kansas Highway 7 corridor carry any weight remains to be seen.

Just in case city officials' opinions do indeed matter, they've scheduled a meeting to convey those thoughts.

At a recent Basehor City Council special meeting, council members set a tentative date of either July 25 or 26 to speak with representatives from the Kansas Department of Transportation and consultants from HNTB Corp., an engineering firm hired by the state to recommend the future use of K-7.

Last year, HNTB recommended that future upgrades to K-7 be made using a freeway model. While some area governments support the freeway model, the city of Basehor is among those that do not.

"I think the previous council and Joe (Scherer, former mayor) said they do not want a freeway, and I don't think that's changed," Basehor mayor Chris Garcia said. "I think the meeting will be us saying again that we do not want a freeway on K-7."

Opponents to the freeway model include Unified Government of Wyandotte County and the cities of Edwardsville, Bonner Springs and Basehor.

In March, mayors of those municipalities signed a letter of opposition to the HNTB proposal and sent it to the department of transportation.

"This preliminary recommendation came without a thorough discussion or review of the impact of the recommendation on the communities through which K-7 passes and who would be most directly affected by converting it to a freeway," the letter said.

It continued, "As the senior elected representatives of the communities that will be directly affected by decisions about the K-7 Highway Corridor, we must express our strong opposition to this recommendation."

The stance of opponents, and one adopted by the Basehor City Council, is that K-7's conversion to a freeway would send thousands of motorists that travel the highway around their communities, thereby stymieing economic development.

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