Archive for Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Several Meetings to address highways

State looking at futures of both Kansas Highway 7 and U.S. 24-40

May 11, 2005

Tonganoxie City Council members scheduled three special meetings -- all required under the state's open meetings law -- so they can attend out-of-town meetings centering on area highways.

The meetings will center on the future of Kansas Highway 7 and of U.S. Highway 24-40, as well as plans for upgrading the intersection of the two highways.

City Administrator Mike Yanez encouraged council members to attend the meetings, if possible.

Currently, the Kansas Department of Transportation is assessing what type of improvements to make to K-7, between Spring Hill in southern Johnson County to the Lansing-Leavenworth area. Generally, two options are under consideration: A four- to six-lane freeway with limited access or an expressway with stoplights and other traffic-calming devices.

"I think it is important that we pay attention here in Tonganoxie to how this study is taking place," Yanez said. "This study is going to be pretty significant to the future of that roadway."

Another major project that's in the works is a study of the future of 24-40. The state transportation department soon will begin looking at the number of access points along the highway between Tonganoxie and the Kansas City metro area.

"This is a biggie," Yanez told council members.

He said he anticipates the same decision will have to be made about 24-40 highway: Should it remain an expressway, with numerous stoplights added in the future, or should it become a freeway with interchanges.

Yanez expressed concerns about adding traffic lights to the highway.

"We benefit from efficient traffic flow," he said. "It makes us attractive for commuters. As we could suspect, there will be opposition to the freeway concept."

He said he anticipates Tonganoxie elected officials will have to come down on one side or the other of the expressway-freeway debate.

"This is a study in which we definitely have to keep our eyes wide open," he said.

And finally, state transportation officials plan to improve the intersection of K-7 and 24-40.

"Obviously, a closure of that interchange (for construction) is going to create a big headache for the community," Yanez said.

Yanez and council members said they hope members of the Tonganoxie community -- chamber members, business owners and other interested citizens -- will keep themselves informed about the future of these two highways.

"We can't sit back and be napping," Yanez said.

In other business on Monday, Mayor Dave Taylor made numerous appointments during the Tonganoxie City Council meeting.

The council approved these appointments by the mayor:

  • Mike Weston, Larry Smith and Don Pelzl to the planning commission. Smith and Weston were reappointed, while Pelzl is a new member.
  • Velda Roberts, Carl Folsom and Cindy Murry to the tree board. Roberts, who also is a city council member, was reappointed, while Folsom and Murry are new members
  • Mary Conway as deputy city clerk/court clerk; JoAnn Ferguson as city treasurer; Michael Kelly as city attorney; David Bennett as fire chief; William E. Pray as municipal judge; and Michael Mogenson as city prosecutor.
  • Kenny Carpenter as police chief; John Putthoff as deputy police chief; Billy Adcox as sergeant investigator; Tony Hernandez as shift sergeant; Larry Burns, Brian Daily, Steve Apostle and Dustin Holladay as police officers; Cecil Vinyard as bailiff and part-time police officer; Tony Burr, Glenn Cannizzaro, Chris Dains, Steve Hawkins, Bob Koontz, Jimmie Lambert, Dennis Lark, Russ Moore, Dann Ruff, Carlos Vasquez and Currie Meyers as part-time police officers; and Sandy Koontz, Chip Marquardt, Robert McConnell, William Moore and Mike Vestal as reserve police officers.
  • The Mirror as the official city newspaper; and the Lawrence Journal-World and the Leavenworth Times as secondary city newspapers.

City council members also unanimously approved a final plat for Sundance Subdivision, another step toward work beginning on apartments for low-income elderly residents.

The 40-unit complex is planned for the Stone Creek area of Tonganoxie. In addition, the city council approved numerous amendments to the city's zoning ordinances.

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