Archive for Wednesday, June 16, 2004

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Panel undertaking important road work

June 16, 2004

A group of Leavenworth Area Development members is looking at transportation in Leavenworth County.

High on the task force's list is how traffic moves on Kansas Highway 7. Also high on the committee's to-do list is whether it's feasible to have a new road that would provide north-south access through the center of the county.

Good roads, and well-placed roads, are important to Leavenworth County.

The county has no access to the Kansas Turnpike, even though it cuts a swath through Leavenworth County. Travelers wanting to head east or west on a four-lane interstate first must travel to Lawrence in Douglas County or to Bonner Springs in Wyandotte County.

As more and more people and businesses move to Leavenworth County, highway access becomes more and more important.

Kansas Highway 7 currently is under study by an engineering firm hired by the Kansas Department of Transportation. The study, which should conclude in the fall of 2005 is focusing on the highway and how traffic moves on it between the Johnson-Osage county line and Lansing. That study, and any recommendations and agreements made after that study, are important because some estimates are that in the future it could take upwards of 90 minutes to travel to Leavenworth from Interstate 70.

By the same token, it's important to plan construction of new roads in Leavenworth County and to move forward with direct access to Interstate 70 so this county is not left behind by businesses that are hoping to take advantage of both a strong workforce and a growing number of customers.

The economic development's committee is vital to the future of the county. And once its work is done, it will be important for city, county and state officials to work together to ensure roads in Leavenworth County are improved. It would be foolish to depend only on the existing K-7, U.S. Highway 24-40, Kansas Highway 32 and Kansas Highway 92 to serve the county's future needs.

Improvements are needed, and they're needed sooner, rather than later.

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