Gateway Project ready to go to design

The green-shaded areas are affected by the Johnson County Gateway Project.

The green-shaded areas are affected by the Johnson County Gateway Project.

A committee looking into reconstruction of a major highway interchange in Johnson County is ready to begin the design phase. The Johnson County Gateway Project committee has completed traffic studies and public surveys regarding changes to the Interstate 35/Interstate 435/Kansas Highway10 interchange in western Johnson County.

The preferred concept for the project has been developed after interpreting data from online surveys and focus groups, transportation officials said at an Kansas Department of Transportation-sponsored open house Thursday in Lenexa.

“These highways see somewhere around 280,000 vehicles a day, so it was very important that we ask the drivers where they saw the problem areas,” said Cameron McGown with HNTB, the engineering consulting firm for the project.

Data from the public input revealed the main concerns to be Pflumm Road at I-35 and the I-435/K-10/Lackman Road interchange. These areas would be addressed in the first few phases of the multiphase plan the project committee has planned.

“This project is huge and very expensive. KDOT could never do everything that needs to be done here in one project,” said Kimberly Qualls, KDOT public affairs manager. “The team has broken this into four, smaller projects, which are more likely to receive funding.”

Funding approval won’t be announced until late February or early March of 2011. Total improvement costs, KDOT estimates, could be between $500 million and $1 billion, depending on the final recommendations.

“As far as KDOT projects across the state go, this one has been placed on the top tier in importance rankings, so we’re hopeful it’ll be funded in February,” Qualls said. “But there is new administration coming in and there are a lot of other projects needing funds too. We just have to wait and see.”

Follow the project as it progresses on the Johnson County Gateway Project website.

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