Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Preliminary work under way on study of highway corridor

July 19, 2006

Area officials still are working out some kinks in preliminary plans for a U.S. Highway 24-40 corridor study.

At a work session Friday at Basehor City Hall, officials from Leavenworth County, Tonganoxie and Basehor, as well as the Mid-America Regional Council, Kansas Department of Transportation and planning firm Bucher, Willis and Ratliff discussed the study, which is expected to be complete next year.

For instance, Scott Michie of Bucher, Willis and Ratliff, told meeting officials that the planning firm was looking to track growth in the area by using 2004 census numbers for two zip codes -- Basehor (66007) and Tonganoxie (66086).

But Leavenworth County Commissioner Dean Oroke pointed out that some property that has been annexed into Basehor, such as developments just south of 24-40, still carry a Bonner Springs zip code.

"We've got a problem in the Basehor area," Oroke said. "South of State Avenue, the Pinehurst Development has a mailing address of Bonner Springs.

"When people look into Basehor, it comes with a Bonner Springs address when they search it by zip code."

Chris Dunn, Leavenworth County's director of planning and zoning, said he would look into other ways to make the Basehor numbers more accurate.

Meeting participants also discussed interviewing some area residents and sending out invitations to other area residents in hopes of forming a project advisory committee.

Michie discussed interviewing residents as "key stakeholders," such as bankers, economic and government officials, to form background information for the corridor study. Officials at the work session also discussed sending out letters to other local residents to form an advisory committee. Additional government officials, as well as school officials, builders and other citizens were listed as potential candidates for the committee.

When finished, the corridor study is expected to provide local governments with recommendations on how to preserve high-speed travel on U.S. 24-40 without hindering development.

The stretch of U.S. 24-40 from Kansas Highway 7 west to the County Road 1 intersection just south of Tonganoxie will be studied. The study also will review the area one mile north and one mile south of the highway along that stretch.

Officials will have their next work session at 10 a.m. Aug. 11 in Tonganoxie City Hall in council chambers.

When finished, the study is expected to cost between $200,000 and $250,000, with the Kansas Department of Transportation slated to pay nearly two-thirds of the bill. Mid-America Regional Council will contribute $20,000, with the remaining one-third of costs being split among the county, Tonganoxie and Basehor.

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