Leavenworth County commissioners says KDOT interested in K-5 project
Leavenworth County Commissioner J.C. Tellefson wants to pass on his advocacy for Kansas Highway 5 improvements to someone else.
Tellefson briefed his fellow commissioners Monday on a Kansas Department of Transportation meeting Friday in Olathe on T-WORKS, the 10-year, $8.2 billion transportation program the Kansas Legislature approved last spring.
Many of the projects KDOT plans to include were outlined with information at the meeting, Tellefson said. Those included $700 million plus in “gateway” projects that will make improvements to Interstates 70, 35 and 435, Kansas Highway 10 and other highways and freeways to the south of Leavenworth County, he said.
However, Tellefson said there would be a follow-up meeting in October at which KDOT would listen to other proposals. To his encouragement, he found KDOT officials interested in the $39.5 million plan to improve K-5 in Leavenwoth and Wyandotte counties and outside groups considering an economic impact study needed for the project to be included on the final T-WORKS list.
The K-5 project would be the same kind of gateway to the metropolitan area from the north as those for the south and west shared at the meeting, Tellefson said.
With the widening of the bridge of the Missouri River at Leavenworth, a plan to rebuild K-5 as a four-lane connection from Kansas Highway 7 in south Lansing to I-435 in Wyandotte County was one of two projects the county sought to advance for T-WORKS with the support of the cities of Basehor, Lansing, Leavenworth and Tonganoxie. That effort wasn’t successful because Tonganoxie is considering supporting the widening of U.S. Highway 24/40 from Kansas Highway 16 to Leavenworth County Road 1 and Basehor supports doing more but smaller projects.
Tellefson also complicated the process when he unsuccessfully advocated the county and its cities only support the K-5 improvements with a bypass south and west of Leavenworth.
Although he has back away from that stance, Tellefson said KDOT’s solicitation of additional projects at the October meeting was an opportunity for the county to get the K-5 project included.
“It seems to me someone needs to champion this thing. It’s not going to be me,” he said. “I’m not going to be here.”
Tellefson is not running for re-election and his term will end in January 2011.
The K-5 project had a chance for selection, especially if it is limited to work east of K-7, Graeber said.
“In the scheme of things, the money we’re talking about is minimal, compared to what KDOT is taking about,” he said.
He suggested someone get in touch with State Rep. Gary Hayzlett, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
“Nothing is going to happen without his support,” he said.
County Administrator Heather Morgan said the K-5 project would be one of the topics during a meeting she will have this week with Sen. Kelly Kultala, the ranking Democrat of the Senate Transportation Committee.