OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — An express toll lane will be added to U.S. 69 Highway in Overland Park.
The Overland Park City Council voted 10-2 to approve the expansion for the roadway, which the Kansas Department of Transportation estimates is used by roughly 80,000 drivers daily between West 103rd and West 197th streets, with the toll-lane included.
Councilwoman Stacie Gram said that while she believes KDOT should pay for the project "in its entirety," approving a toll lane is the best option.
A KDOT survey released earlier this month found that, of those surveyed, a majority responded that they would use a toll lane on the highway.
However, several residents who spoke at the meeting opposed a toll lane.
Lindsey Douglas, KDOT deputy Secretary, clarified to council members and residents in attendance that the express toll lane would be for only one lane of the highway expansion, not all three.
Councilman Faris Farassati also was opposed to the express toll lane.
Toll funds, which some residents expressed concern about in the past, would be used to help fund the project.
Councilman Paul Lyons, who said he does not frequently travel the stretch of highway in question, was in favor of the toll lane. Lyons also does not represent the area of the city most affected by the addition of a toll lane.
Mayor Carl Gerlach told 41 Action News last March that addressing traffic issues on US 69 was a top priority for the city in 2020.
Public works staff began working with the Kansas Turnpike Authority in 2019 on a cost-analysis project for the proposed expansion.
City officials applied for grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as KDOT, but did not receive either.
The city, according to Gerlach, has contributed more than $60 million to past projects associated with the highway.