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Overland Park considering tolls to help pay for US Route 69 expansion

Posted at 8:49 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 23:16:59-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Overland Park officials are looking for ways to fund a highway expansion for portions of U.S. Route 69, including making the road a tollway.

The city's public works staff is working with the Kansas Turnpike Authority to complete a preliminary cost analysis that will determine how much money a toll would generate to support construction and maintenance of U.S. Route 69. The initial study should be completed by the end of the year.

City engineer Lorraine Basalo said the city is looking at "every opportunity possible" to move the improvements forward.

"What we are really trying to find out is how could it look?" Basalo said. "Would it even be feasible? Would it fit?"

Officials would like to widen the portion of U.S. Route 69 that runs from Interstate 435 to 167th Street from four lanes to six lanes. That stretch of highway is considered the busiest four-lane road in Kansas.

"In projections for the future, we are looking at about 2045, we would actually have volumes that would double and travel times that would triple," Basalo said.

Although U.S. Route 69 is a state highway, Overland Park officials have been working to secure funding to expedite the expansion project, which is estimated to cost a quarter of a billion dollars.

The city applied for two grants with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Kansas Department of Transportation. The city did not win the grants but officials said they will continue to try and secure funding.

"What we are trying to do is see what we can do to move the project along," Basalo said.