Archive for Thursday, August 10, 2006

Johnson County to join K-Dot K-7 study

August 10, 2006

Johnson County implemented the K-7 Corridor Management Plan involving future development of Kansas Highway 7.

The go-ahead was received July 27 when the Johnson County Board of Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The approval involved no funding, but committed the county to cooperate with other Kansas counties and cities within the corridor for a future upgrading of K-7 Highway to freeway standards.

"It's a non-binding document," Johnson County planning director Dean Palos said. "It's a gentleman's agreement to work together with KDOT and the other cities and jurisdictions."

The K-7 Corridor stretches nearly 40 miles from northern Miami County to Muncie/Lansing in Leavenworth County. The highway spans roughly 23 miles in Johnson County, passing through the cities of Shawnee, Lenexa, Olathe and Spring Hill.

Palos said approximately six miles of K-7 are in the unincorporated area of Johnson County where the highway spans between Olathe and Spring Hill. The two cities are expected to eventually annex much of that mileage in the future as they continue to grow and expand their city limits.

Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties, the city of Shawnee, and Kansas City's Mid-America Regional Council also have approved the Memorandum of Understanding. Approval is pending in the cities of Lenexa, Olathe, and Spring Hill.

KDOT hopes to have approval by all jurisdictions touched by the K-7 Corridor in discussing and crafting a mutually agreeable ultimate plan for the highway to become a future freeway as part of each community's respective comprehensive development plan.

A K-7 Corridor Review Committee is being formed to periodically review corridor plans and assess development that might affect future transportation needs and land-use issues, such as rights-of-way acquisition, interchange and overpass locations, street networks that fit the study plan, and orderly utility placements, associated with the rapid development along the potential north-south freeway system.

The K-7 Corridor Management Study by KDOT began in 2004, following a technical report completed in 2002. It is aimed as establishing collaborative efforts by affected jurisdictions to arrive at recommendations for an achievable K-7 Corridor Master Plan involving a north-south freeway through the middle of Johnson County.

The highway proposal remains in its infancy. The K-7 Freeway system, if it's approved and more importantly funded, may take up to 20 years to design, develop and construct.

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