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Overland Park City Council approves expansion of US 69 toll lane project

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Posted at 2:45 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 07:39:09-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Overland Park City Council approved an expansion of the U.S. 69 toll lane project on Monday night.

The Council approved expanding its agreement with the state to include reconstruction of the 167th Street interchange, allowing the city to add ramps from northbound U.S. 69 to 167th Street and from 167th Street to southbound U.S. 69.

Overland Park will also expand 167th Street to a four-lane street from Metcalf Avenue to Antioch Road.

The city says the expansion will cost an estimated $30 million.

Of that price, $10 million will come from the city and will be paid for through the toll lane being added, but will require tolls to be in place for three to seven years longer than originally predicted. That means the express toll lane option would more than likely be in place past 2040.

The remaining $20 million will be paid for through state and federal money.

Lindsey Douglas, Kansas Department of Transportation deputy secretary of economic investment, policy and fiscal affairs, said the state would set aside money from President Joe Biden’s recently approved infrastructure bill to fund the project.

In June, Overland Park approved adding an express toll lane to U.S. 69 between West 103rd and West 197th streets to pay for expanding the highway in that stretch.

Combining the 167th Street improvements with the larger U.S. 69 expansion allows construction to happen at the same time, meaning phase one of the U.S. 69 project and 167th Street upgrades would be complete by 2025.

“This is a very small window we have to get help with something we would end up paying for 100 percent,” city council member Holly Grummert explained her support for the project.

The council approved the plan on a vote of 9-2.

Opponents said they believe the problem with tolls is that they seem to always be extended. Plus they thought newly elected council members should make the decision when they take office next month.