Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Study to define future roadway

County to narrow future arterial south of De Soto to 151st Street

August 16, 2007

A 61-acre plot southwest of the intersection of Kansas Highway 10 and Kill Creek Road set be rezoned Thursday from rural residential to commercial is already drawing interest.

However, the interest in the property isn't from a developer but the Johnson County Public Works Department, which envisions a realigned 95st Street/Kill Creek Road intersection on the property.

Johnson County adopted a plan in 2002 for a future arterial road
from K-10 south to 151st Street on a Kill Creek Road/Homestead Road
alignment. The plan would re-align the intersection of 95th Street
and Kill Creek through property up for rezoning Thursday.

Johnson County adopted a plan in 2002 for a future arterial road from K-10 south to 151st Street on a Kill Creek Road/Homestead Road alignment. The plan would re-align the intersection of 95th Street and Kill Creek through property up for rezoning Thursday.

Assistant Johnson County engineer Brian Pietig said the realigned intersection is part of a Kill Creek Road corridor study Johnson County commissioners adopted in July 2002.The public works department would soon start preliminary engineering to identify the best "footprint" for that realignment and route of a north/south arterial connecting De Soto to 151st Street.

"We will be doing preliminary engineering to determine where the best actual roadway will be," he said. "The corridor width is 400 feet and the right-of-way width would be from 150- to 200-feet wide. So we are going to try to narrow down about where the actual roadway would be."

The arterial, which when fully developed would be a six-lane parkway, is one of two north-south routes for northwest Johnson County in the County Arterial Road Network Program. Because of uncertainties surrounding Oz Entertainment Inc.'s development plan for the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant and the degree of development near De Soto, the northwest part of the county was set aside for further study when the Johnson County Commission adopted CARNP in 1999.

The northwest corridor study suggested the future north-south arterial east of Sunflower jump from Kill Creek west a quarter mile and south to Homestead Road at 119th Street, where it would angle back to the east to a Kill Creek Road alignment. The study concluded in July 2002 with Johnson County Commission approving a number of future routes, including the 400-foot corridor for the future Kill Creek/Homestead arterial.

Pietig characterized as coincidental the timing of the announcement to do the preliminary engineering as 61 acres as the Kill Creek Road/95th Street intersection were being rezoned.

Moreover, preliminary engineering doesn't signal improvements to the arterial are imminent, Pietig said. It could be 10 to 15 years before the improved arterial is constructed, he said.

Part of the CARNP process was to develop criteria such as traffic volume and surrounding development that would trigger arterial road construction, Pietig said. When the county went through that exercise, it found Kill Creek in need of improvements but not as much as other roads in the county. And with arterial improvements costing $1 million for every 1.5 miles of roadway, the county has to be selective.

"The last time we went through the triggers process, 199th Street was our highest need," he said. "199th Street between Stillwell and Spring Hill is where our funds are tied up right now and potentially will be for the next 10 years."

When it was approved, one county commissioner called CARNP a "right of way preservation" program that would identify routes early so that the county could purchase the land it needed for future arterial roads before property developed and land prices jumped.

The county has already purchased two plots in Sunflower Estates south of De Soto for the future arterial, Pietig said.

However, the realignment shown in the corridor study shows the realigned intersection of Kill Creek Road and 95th Street in De Soto. It typically falls to cities to purchase right of way for those parts of arterials within incorporated areas, Pietig said.

That might be a problem. The city never approved the corridor study and in a letter to the county during the corridor study's public comment period early in the decade, city engineer Mike Brungardt expressed preference for improvements to the current Kill Creek Road alignment and concentration on the arterial through the Sunflower plant.

It could be hard to sell the De Soto City Council to purchase right of way for a realignment it never endorsed and on which the city expressed reservations, especially with land prices likely to increase with Thursday's rezoning. The council might also have concerns about the effect of the realignment on the development potential of what is seen as one of De Soto's prime future commercial sites.

The rezoning the council will consider Thursday won the recommendation last month of the De Soto Planning Commission. The 61 acres are two properties knit together "loose partnership" of Ralph Lewis and Bob Jackson.

Lewis said Monday he hadn't seen the county's recommendation for the new intersection.

"It doesn't impact the rezoning," he said. "It might impact the development plan when we have one, but it's not something that's on our immediate screen."

Johnson County in the County Arterial Road Network Program. Because of uncertainties surrounding Oz Entertainment Inc.'s development plan for the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant and the degree of development near De Soto, the northwest part of the county was set aside for further study when the Johnson County Commission adopted CARNP in 1999.

The northwest corridor study suggested the future north-south arterial east of Sunflower jump from Kill Creek west a quarter mile and south to Homestead Road at 119th Street, where it would angle back to the east to a Kill Creek Road alignment. The Johnson County Commission approved a 400-foot corridor along that alignment for the future Kill Creek/Homestead arterial in July 2002.

Pietig said it was coincidental the county informed the city of the intent to start the preliminary engineering as the 61 acres as the Kill Creek Road/95th Street intersection were being rezoned.

Moreover, preliminary engineering doesn't signal improvements to the arterial are imminent, Pietig said. It could be 10 to 15 years before the improved arterial is constructed, he said.

Part of the CARNP process was to develop criteria such as traffic volume and surrounding development that would trigger arterial road construction, Pietig said. When the county went through that exercise, it found Kill Creek in need of improvements but not as much as other roads in the county. And with arterial improvements costing $1 million for every 1.5 miles of roadway, the county has to be selective.

"The last time we went through the triggers process, 199th Street was our highest need," he said. "199th Street between Stillwell and Spring Hill is where our funds are tied up right now and potentially will be for the next 10 years."

When it was approved, one county commissioner called CARNP a "right of way preservation" program that would identify routes early so that the county could purchase the land it needed for future arterial roads before property developed and land prices jumped.

The county already has purchased two plots in Sunflower Estates south of De Soto for the future arterial, Pietig said.

However, the realignment shown in the corridor study shows the realigned intersection of Kill Creek Road and 95th Street in De Soto. It typically falls to cities to purchase right of way for those parts of arterials within incorporated areas, Pietig said.

That might be a problem. The city never approved the corridor study and in a letter to the county during the corridor study's public comment period early in the decade, city engineer Mike Brungardt expressed preference for improvements to the current Kill Creek Road alignment and concentration on the arterial through the Sunflower plant.

It could be hard to sell the De Soto City Council to purchase right of way for a realignment it never endorsed and on which the city expressed reservations, especially with land prices likely to increase with Thursday's rezoning. The council might also have concerns about the effect of the realignment on the development potential of what is seen as one of De Soto's prime future commercial sites.

The rezoning the council will consider Thursday won the recommendation last month of the De Soto Planning Commission. The 61 acres are two properties knit together "loose partnership" of Ralph Lewis and Bob Jackson.

Lewis said Monday he hadn't seen the county's recommendation for the new intersection.

"It doesn't impact the rezoning," he said. "It might impact the development plan when we have one, but it's not something that's on our immediate screen."

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