By Jodi Fortino
Johnson County residents raised considerations throughout a digital assembly this week concerning the potential toll prices related to a U.S. 69 Freeway growth proposal.
The assembly was the second in a sequence of city corridor conferences hosted by the Kansas Division of Transportation, KDOT, to assemble suggestions on the venture that will broaden the freeway from 4 to 6 lanes from 103rd Road to 179th Road.
KDOT defined that including specific toll lanes is the most suitable choice. The division’s research confirmed the specific toll possibility outperformed different plans in bettering security, lowering congestion and selling sustainability.
The plan outlined the proposed toll prices with drivers paying $1.75 for a full hall journey within the afternoon southbound, and $1.50 within the morning northbound. It could value an estimated 65 cents throughout non-peak hours.
In accordance with Cameron McGown, venture supervisor for HNTB engineering, the charges are lower than the nationwide common. The nationwide common is 56 cents per mile. The proposed price was estimated between 25 and 32 cents per mile.
“We ought to be beneath the nationwide common. Overland Park doesn’t have the identical ranges of congestion as locations in California or Miami or Houston,” McGown stated. “We will obtain that very same aim with a lot decrease charges.”
Residents raised considerations throughout the public remark that the specific lane mannequin is inequitable and would favor wealthier drivers.
McGown stated that the specific lane is an possibility, not essentially a alternative drivers will make each day.
“When it’s actually essential, moderately than sitting there in site visitors that’s all going the identical pace, if there’s a journey that’s extraordinarily essential to you, it offers you the choice to reap the benefits of these larger pace journeys,” McGown stated.
Some residents pointed to different alternate options proposed by the division, together with conventional widening.
This different would add one new general-purpose lane in every route for all motorists. It could additionally embrace enhancements to native interchanges, and the reconstruction of present pavement and bridges.
However Lindsey Douglas, deputy secretary at KDOT, stated the specific lane is extra inexpensive and sustainable.
“If the toll possibility is chosen, we expect that that can assist handle the congestion extra for the long-term with the scale of the power. And it is also a decrease value possibility,” Douglas stated.
KDOT’s estimate places prices for the specific toll lane proposal at $655 million and $740 million for the historically widening plan.
What occurs subsequent
U.S. 69 in Overland Park noticed greater than 80,000 automobiles a day previous to the COVID-19 pandemic. KDOT officers are already seeing a return to these numbers in 2021, as residents resume in-person work at their jobs.
By 2040, site visitors quantity is anticipated to double and travel times triple alongside the route, in line with KDOT.
The Overland Park Metropolis Council will check out the ultimate proposal in Might. A call is anticipated by mid-June. It could then go to the Kansas Turnpike Authority Board after which the State Finance Council for approval.
If accepted, development for the venture may start as early as summer time of 2022 and be accomplished by 2025.
KCUR 89.3 is Kansas Metropolis’s NPR affiliate public radio station. You possibly can learn and hearken to extra of their reporting at kcur.org.