Archive for Thursday, January 10, 2002

Residents at odds over Waverly dead end

January 10, 2002

Two competing petitioners are seeking to influence the future of a .4-mile section of road southeast of De Soto.

Waverly Road has been closed since floodwaters washed out a bridge over a tributary of Camp Creek more than half a century ago. Currently, yellow signs warn motorist traveling north from 111th Street and south from 95th Street of the road's end and of the groves of trees ahead.

Dr. Rich Beamon of 30565 W. 99th Street said it doesn't make sense that what could be one of the few continual north-south routes east of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant should remained unopened because of a long-forgotten flood. Last year, Beamon collected signatures for a petition calling for the reopening the closed section of Waverly.

The timing is right because of Johnson County's County Arterial Road Network Program seeks to use existing roads to reduce congestion, Beamon said.

"The county has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to identify a north/south route," he said. "Waverly Road is, except for one little three-eights of a mile section.

"Waverly needs to be reopened. Sixty other people agree with me."

Beamon said if the section was reopened, Waverly would alleviate traffic on a "dangerous" Kill Creek Road. More importantly, he said, Waverly would provide an alternate route for emergency vehicles.

"If Kill Creek is tied up from an accident there would be no other way route except coming up from the south on K-7," he said.

The petitioners are only asking that Johnson County move up a project that it already planned, Beamon said.

Johnson County Public Works engineer Don Hovey said the reopening of Waverly was on the department's capital improvement plan list. It was moved up when the county commission received the petition from Beamon.

Public works now plans to do design work on the project this year and start construction in 2003, Hovey said. Survey crews were at the site last week, he said. He estimated the project will cost from $200,000 to $300,000, but added a more exact figure would be known when the survey is completed.

Sandy Brashears, who lives on Waverly near the southern dead end, said Beamon didn't brother to ask her or her neighbors to sign the petition. She is now circulating a petition seeking to stop the project.

"It's wouldn't relieve traffic on Kill Creek," she said. "Who in their right mind would use a dirt-and-rock road instead of a paved road?"

Johnson County Rural Fire District No. 3 brackets Kill Creek Road with fire stations that assure emergency service to the area, Brashears said.

Rick Kuykendall, a shift leader at the fire district's Kill Creek Road station, said he didn't think the reopened section of Waverly was needed to assure access because the district has stations a half mile south of 95th Street and four miles south at 127th and Gardner Road. The one improvement in the area that would speed up response times is an exit off Kansas Highway 10 at the Clear Creek Road/95th Street intersection, he said.

Brashears suspects Beamon's motivations are not traffic concerns or emergency vehicle service on Kill Creek Road. She said he wants to reopen a closed masonry rock quarry on the 120 acres he owns within the closed section of Waverly. To back up the charge, she points to a letter her family received from Beamon in June 2000, asking their support for an application to Johnson County for a conditional use permit to reopen the quarry.

Beamon said he considered reopening the 10-acre quarry in the past. Now, he said he wants to sale the 120 acres.

"I think the property would sale better if there was a road in front of it," he said. "But that's not the main reason I'm want the road reopened.

"It will make me and my neighbors safer. If it was just for me, the county commission wouldn't do it."

For his part, Beamon said the Brashears are trying to stop progress at the expense of Johnson County.

"The Brashears need to read 'Who Moved My Cheese,'" he said. "The cheese is going to move no matter what they do. This is Johnson County. Change happens.

"Given a choice, everybody would like to live on a dead-end street and have the county maintain it as a semi-private drive."

De Soto's representative on the Johnson County Commission Susie Wolf viewed the site with Brashears last week and is scheduled a return visit with Beamon next week. The Waverly Road project will be considered with the county taking another look at its priorities, she said.

"I will say with the events of Sept. 11 and the shape of the economy, we will take a very close look at what projects we're going to do," she said. "We're probably not going to have the money we thought we were."

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