Archive for Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Plans for K-7 stalled

May 2, 2001

Because of state financial problems, improvements to Kansas Highway 7 must take a back seat for awhile.

Marty Matthews, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said the state had been looking at improving Kansas Highway 7 from Interstate 70, south to Nettleton Avenue.

But, because of the state's predicted $200 million revenue shortfall, KDOT is tightening its own belt.

"This is based on our projected deficit," Matthews said. "In looking at the revenue shortfall, our comprehensive transportation program would be more than $270 million in the hole at the end of 10 years."

So KDOT pulled the plug on 15 highway projects that were included in the comprehensive transportation program, which was to stretch from 1999 to 2009.

"The ones that we have suspended were add-ons, so we thought it only fair that they would be the first places to cut," Matthews said.

The projects, he added, were not funded for construction.

"They were in the advanced stages of engineering studies," Matthews said. "We had been hoping there would be money left over for them, but now that we're looking at a $270 million deficit, we know that's not going to happen."

Highway projects are planned well in advance.

"Most highway projects have anywhere from a two- to eight-year planning horizon, which is why we like to get a head start on them," Matthews said. "This was a pro-active approach so that you don't come along in 10 to 15 years and say now I have to wipe out this side of the road that has businesses on it."

Other planned projects in this area that have been shelved include:

Improvements to the Bonner Springs/Interstate 70 interchange, a $39 million dollar project.

U.S. Highway 24 from U.S. Highway 59, south and east to Kansas Highway 32 in Douglas and Jefferson Counties (in planning stage).

Kansas Highway 4 from 46th Street to Valley Falls.

In Jefferson County (engineering study).

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