Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2005

KDOT considers studying future of 24-40 highway

May 19, 2005

Officials Wednesday morning described an upcoming study of the U.S. Highway 24-40 corridor, specifically between Basehor and Tonganoxie, as a multi-layered process that now is in the preliminary stages.

Representatives from several local governments -- the Leavenworth County Commission and the cities of Basehor and Tonganoxie -- met Wednesday, May 18, with officials from the Kansas Department of Transportation and Leavenworth Area Development to discuss beginning a 24-40 study.

Between the two cities, seven developments are under way along the highway, ranging in use from entirely residential to commercial and light industrial only.

KDOT representative Chris Huffman said group members would either "fail together or succeed together" in planning for the highway's future. By laying the groundwork for the study now, perhaps officials can avoid having to undertake a process similar to a study currently under way for Kansas Highway 7, he added,

"What we would like to avoid doing is repeating past mistakes," Huffman said.

Chris Donnelly, an executive board member for Leavenworth Area Development, backed Huffman's notion.

"LAD's perspective is: Let's get on this thing now before it gets to the level of K-7," Donnelly said.

Another department of transportation official, Thomas Dow, said working to complete the study must be "a partnership effort."

"We don't intend this to be KDOT coming in and making all the decisions," he said.

Currently, the department of transportation is studying 22 miles of the K-7 corridor. Eleven municipalities are weighing in on the highway's future use and it's the goal of transportation officials to find a solution that will appease local governments' wishes.

While many officials agreed Wednesday they don't want the 24-40 study to be as complex as the K-7 initiative, many details surrounding the proposed analysis of the highway are yet unresolved. Preliminarily, officials agreed that the highway study should encompass roadway between Kansas Highway 7 and the city of Tonganoxie's planning boundary, approximately three miles west of the city limits.

A definitive cost of the study is also undetermined. Depending on the scope of the project, it could cost from $250,000 to $800,000, Huffman said.

State transportation officials as well as representatives from the Mid America Regional Council and members of the Leavenworth County Commission indicated they would contribute funding toward the highway study, and it's believed that Basehor and Tonganoxie governments will, as well.

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