State officials ready to work with Bonner Springs’s K-7 requests
State officials met with Bonner Springs city leaders Monday, six months after the city made several requests regarding future construction along Kansas Highway 7.
Representatives from the Kansas Department of Transportation met with the Bonner Springs City Council before its regular meeting Monday to discuss updated plans for the six future phases of the Interstate 70 and K-7 interchange. City officials found that the state was amenable to most of the city’s requests.
“I think the dialogue has been good; I think they’re responsive,” Don Slone, city planning director, told the council.
The state is finishing up construction of the first three phases of the overall 10-phase revamp of the K-7 and I-70 interchange, which includes interchanges at Kansas Avenue and 130th Street and an overpass with very different access to Canaan Center Drive. Future phases have yet to be funded.
One of the city’s biggest concerns was the effect of future phases of construction on the city’s businesses along K-7, especially at Kansas Avenue in phase five and at Canaan Center in phases six and 10.
The city asked that KDOT create a construction mitigation program to assist residents, motorists and businesses by creating awareness of how traffic patterns will change and how businesses can be accessed during construction.
Aaron Frits, road design leader for KDOT, said the state will rely on its public affairs manager to formulate a plan, but he provided a list of possible actions that have worked for other projects, from public meetings and special signage to a hotline or business education.
“The big thing we’re going to try is pushing more information out to users to make them aware of what is going on,” Frits said.
He said even with the first three phases, they have noticed public awareness increase thanks to the interchange’s website, k7andi70interchange.org.
“I had a comment from a user about some lighting we had on the new ramp, and that was resolved through the website,” he said.
Councilman Tom Stephens asked Frits to clarify just how long Kansas Avenue access would be cut off during the estimated two-year construction of the interchange. Frits said it would remain open as long as possible, and it was currently estimated that the closure would be less than half of the total construction time.
Another request was for the state to assist in the final design and construction of the Canaan Center Drive extension and 134th Street improvements from Kansas to Riverview avenues. Both would provide alternate access to Canaan Center when construction limits access in phases five, six and 10.
State officials responded they would be willing to partner with the city, helping it procure funding through the Mid-America Regional Council or KDOT Bureau of Local Projects.
Frits showed the council a basic potential design for the street and explained another option would be to tie it in to the contract for one of the future phases, which would likely save the city some money.
The city also asked for advance relocation of utilities before construction, particularly a sanitary sewer and water line, especially after the major effort already made to move utilities from K-7 to 134th Street in the last two years. The state agreed it would move as much as possible and take city’s future needs into account.
“I think we learned from 134th Street, we’re going to continue to work on that process… we’re going to do our best to be proactive,” Frits said.
Other requests from the city were:
• To ensure Nettleton Avenue’s extension northward on the east side of K-7 was complete before construction began on K-7 and Kansas Avenue’s interchange. The state agreed and clarified that while the Nettleton Avenue project would be included in the Kansas Avenue construction contract, it would be built first.
• To improve the Kansas Transit Authority maintenance facility currently located inside the loop on the northeast corner of I-70 and K-7. Frits said it would be used as a staging area during construction, but once the current phase under construction, widening I-70 to three lanes, is complete in early 2017, the buildings would be removed and green space would be left behind. He said the KTA already has moved its operations out of the buildings.
• Extending Tulip Drive to the south to provide another alternate traffic route and access to Kerry Roberts Park. The state agreed to partner with the city for the design and construction of the street and possibly fund a percentage of the work.
• Building Cheyenne Avenue from K-7 west to 132nd Street prior to construction on K-7.