Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2001

Homestead Lane latest detour in county’s arterial road review

September 6, 2001

More than two years after it approved a future arterial road plan for the rest of rural Johnson County, the county commission is still debating which roads in the northwest part of the county should be designated for future improvements.

The commission approved the County Arterial Road Network Plan in January 1999 over the objections of residents who said it would change the character of rural Johnson County by spurring development. At that time, the county pegged the northwest portion of the county for future study.

The plan's goal is to identify the roadways and acquire right of ways needed to handle increased traffic in the rural part of the county over the next 20 years. The county promised roads would only be built as needed.

Over the past 32 months, the county has studied possible routes for a north-south road connecting Kansas Highway 10 to 151st Street. Presently, there is no direct paved link from De Soto to the Gardner vicinity.

When completely built out, the north-south route would be a divided lane parkway.

In addition, the county has studied two east-west routes in the northwest corridor. One would connect Kansas Highway 7 to the new north-south route, and the second route would link the new north-south road to the Evening Star Road to the west.

In its latest move, the county has agreed to study the use of Homestead Lane as the north-south route. Late last year, the county identified a Kill Creek Road alternative as the preferred north-south route. That proposal would construct a new roadway about a half-mile west of Kill Creek in the northern-most section of the corridor. The road's alignment would rejoin the existing Kill Creek roadway further to the south.

Homestead Lane currently exists from 115th Street to 135th Street. A new roadway would have to be built in the northern and southern sections. Penny Seavertson, who served on a citizens' study group for the northeast corridor, said Hunt Midwest Mining Inc. would be the benefactor should Homestead Lane be chosen.

The Homestead Lane alternative would shorten the length of any access road Hunt Midwest would have to build should the quarry the company operates south of 95th Street lose the use of its current access route through the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, Seavertson said.

"It might seem a little na on my part, but I think a decision of this importance shouldn't be made with the influence of Hunt Midwest," she said.

Commissioner Susie Wolf voiced concern about the Homestead Lane alternative last Thursday. Her concern was how traffic from the Homestead Lane alternative would affect Kill Creek Regional Park, which is to open this fall.

Still, the commission signaled its approval of the $10,400 study last Thursday.

In addition to approving a review of the Homestead Lane alternative, the commission approved a $14,300 review of diagonal connections between the north-south arterial and Gardner and Moonlight roads.

Meanwhile, the search for the western east-west route has identified six different routes with nearly identical scores. The county commission will discuss how to deal with that quandary Thursday.

The Homestead Lane study is to be finished in October. At that time, the county will schedule a public meeting about its proposed routes in the corridor.

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