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Construction work begins on US 69 Highway express lanes

Price for highway project increases by $140 million
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Posted at 7:53 AM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 14:37:41-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Although there’s been no official groundbreaking, construction began this week on adding express lanes to U.S. 69 Highway in Overland Park.

Crews began shutting down lanes on the highway near West 135th Street overnight this week to allow engineers to drill into the ground for geotechnical work. Other crews have begun the process of moving utility lines.

The plan is to build an express toll lane for both northbound and southbound traffic on U.S. 69 between West 103rd Street and West 151st Street.

Drivers will pay a toll to use the express lane while the existing two lanes in both directions will remain free to use.

The price for the project increased by $140 million over the Kansas Department of Transportation's initial estimates.

The state selected US69 Express Constructors, a team made up of Ames Construction and Emery Sapp & Sons, to design and build the $570 million project.

A spokesperson said increases in the cost of fuel, commodities and labor led to the price jump. Although, the state is able to cover the difference by using excess sales tax revenues from 2021-2022 and money from the bipartisan federal infrastructure law.

The tolls are expected to collect $20 million by 2037 or 2042 and will cover Overland Park’s local contribution to the project.

Toll rates will vary depending on the traffic flow. Rates will be between $0.30 and $1.75 when the express lanes open in late 2025.

KDOT says the new toll lanes will remove congestion on the state’s busiest four-lane highway by widening it to six lanes. Thus, the tolled express lanes should create more reliable travel times and improve safety for drivers overall.

Leaders say crews will complete all construction and landscaping in 2026. Construction will include building 11 noise walls along residential areas of the highway.