Regretful De Soto council passes on realignment pact
The De Soto City Council approved last Thursday sending a letter to Johnson County Public Works stating the city will not enter into an interlocal agreement protecting the right of way of a proposed realigned intersection on Kill Creek Road.
As the letter was unanimously approved, two council members expressed regret the city couldn’t join in the agreement that would have had the city protect the right of way for a realigned Kill Creek Road/95th Street intersection, which all agree will become a major commercial site as De Soto develops.
The problem for the city was cost. It doesn’t have the money — estimated to be as much as $1.3 million — to purchase the right-of-way needed to maintain the county’s proposed realignment, and the county’s policy is not to buy right-of-way within cities.
The redesigned intersection is part of a larger county plan to realign Kill Creek Road south of 95th Street about a quarter mile to the west to align with Homestead Road. That plan necessitated a redesign of the intersection just south of Kansas Highway 10 so that it would have 90-degree corner. The county’s current design for the intersection accomplishes that by bowing 95th Street to the south to accomplish that angle.
Last month, public works director Mac Andrews, operations engineer Geoffrey Vohs and assistant county engineer Brian Pietig explained the reason behind the realignment of Kill Creek Road to the council. The goal was to prevent traffic congestion from existing driveways on the Kill Creek route, which is to be a six-lane parkway when fully built out 20 to 30 years in the future. The county representatives said the fear was the future arterial route would become a traffic bottleneck like Santa Fe Street west of Interstate 35 in Olathe or 23rd Street in Lawrence.
However, that route realignment could be 15 or 20 years in the future — long after the intersection starts to develop.
The county representatives said the realigned intersection would also be advantageous for its future commercial development. It would increase frontage along 95th Street and make it more likely the Kansas Department of Transportation would approve access from Kill Creek Road to the property to the west between 95th Street and K-10, they said.
The county representative’s presentation convinced a number of council members. Two, Councilwoman Mitra Templin and Councilman Ted Morse, said again last Thursday they liked the county’s proposal. Templin added that it was regrettable the owners of the property on the northwest side of the intersection, Bob Johnson and Ralph Lewis, were not at last month’s meeting to hear the county’s presentation.
The city’s action threatens not only the redesigned intersection but the shift of the future route to a Homestead Road alignment, on which the county contracted an environmental assessment and recent study to more thoroughly define the route.
De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson joined the two council members in expressing regret the city couldn’t afford to enter into the interlocal agreement to preserve the right of way. But Anderson said the county might reconsider its policy of not purchasing right-of-way in incorporated areas with the letter.