Basehor, Tonganoxie leaders object to county’s transportation priorities
Despite an effort to get all Leavenworth County government entities on the same page, the cities of Tonganoxie and Basehor have their own ideas of what should be in the state’s 10-year, $8.2 billion transportation plan.
Leavenworth County Administrator Heather Morgan and County Engineer Mike Spickelmier met last month with the city managers and administrators of Basehor, Lansing, Leavenworth and Tonganoxie in an attempt to get the county and its four largest cities to support two priority projects.
After the meeting, county officials thought the group had agreed to support two projects:
• The makeover of Kansas Highway 5 from Kansas Highway 7 in Lansing to Interstate 435 into a four-line expressway.
• The addition of two lanes to the Centennial Bridge over the Missouri River on Kansas Highway 92 in Leavenworth.
Those are the two road projects the county now supports, despite Leavenworth County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson’s unsuccessful support to drop the bridge project in favor of gaining unified support for expanding the K-5 project to include a bypass south and west of Lansing and Leavenworth. The county also wanted to get the cities expressed support for the projects by Aug. 6.
The cities of Lansing and Leavenworth do support the two highway priorities, which would primarily benefit the northeast portion of the county.
However, the city administrators of Basehor and Tonganoxie indicated they couldn’t make any commitment without the blessing of their city councils, which they weren’t able to secure on the county’s schedule.
Moreover, both the south county cities have reservations about the two county-supported projects.
Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez said there is local support for the widening of U.S. Highway 24/40 to four lanes from the Kansas Highway 16 intersection in Tonganoxie to the Leavenworth County Road 1 intersection, a section of about 2 miles.
The project would have safety and economic benefit to the US 24/40 corridor and the CR1 corridor, he said. Should the council agree to support the project for the new state transportation program, it could take a step that would help gain KDOT support.
“We might do a quick and dirty economic impact study,” Yanez said.
In an Aug. 4 e-mail to Morgan, Basehor City Administrator Mark Loughry said his city never supported the K-5 or Centennial Bridge projects as the county’s No. 1 priorities.
“I do not think it is appropriate for the group to settle on a project that only impacts a small portion of the county and then list it as ‘our’ number one priority. I would much rather see a request coming forward that has several smaller projects that benefit multiple areas of the county and then allow them to stand on their own merit with no priorities given,” he wrote.