US69 Express Constructors has been selected by the Kansas Department of Transportation to build the state’s first express lanes, 69Express.
Planning for the Future of U.S. 69
KDOT extending procurement on U.S. 69 express lane project in Overland Park to try to reduce project cost
The two qualified proposals exceeded KDOT’s most recent project estimate of $430 million.
Construction to begin later this year with a September groundbreaking; Equity Committee formed to help mitigate potential impacts of express lane operations on equity priority communities; Design-build proposals under review.
A summary of additional right of way needs and locations, the right of way process and schedule, and answers to common questions.
Noise walls approved; federal government finds No Significant Environmental Impact; USDOT Secretary tours U.S. 69.
Eleven noise walls will be constructed in locations just north of 119th Street to 151st Street.
A timeline of events from 1998 to the beginning of 2022 that have contributed to where the U.S. 69 Expansion Project is today.
The Final EA and FONSI are now posted.
The Final Environmental Assessment is available for review in Resources.
Express Toll Lanes Approved for U.S. 69 Highway
In October 2020, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), along with the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) and the City of Overland Park, began an in-depth study of how best to improve U.S. 69 from 179th Street north to 103rd Street. One of the state’s busiest highways, U.S. 69 experiences heavy congestion during rush hours and at other times. The study concluded that adding express toll lanes would best improve public safety, reduce congestion and increase travel time predictability.
Previous studies indicate that U.S. 69 congestion will increase significantly in the future, creating slower traffic and longer response times for emergency personnel. Transportation improvements are needed to address congestion and keep the economy moving. These improvements will be identified as part of the U.S. 69 Expansion Project.
U.S. 69 Expansion Project History at a Glance
The U.S. 69 Expansion Project (69Express) was launched in 2020 after years of effort to examine how best to improve the state’s busiest four-lane highway. The goal was to address growing safety, travel time reliability and congestion issues in the corridor, which stretches from 103rd Street to 179th Street, all in Overland Park. Crash rates in the corridor are 53 percent above the statewide average. Existing pavement and bridges are more than 50 years old and overdue for replacement. Meanwhile, congestion is growing; peak travel times are expected to triple over the next few years. As a result of great progress on the Project in 2021, 69Express advanced significantly towards the start of construction in 2022.
Nearly 25 years were spent studying how to ensure U.S. 69 more safely meets growing local and state needs.
- 2020 – U.S. 69 Pre-Planning Analysis
- 2018 – U.S. 69 Corridor Study Phase 1 Report
- 2016 – 167th Street and U.S. 69 Break-in-Access Request
- 2006 – 159th Street and U.S. 69 Break-in-Access Report
- 2004 – Break-in-Access Study on I-435 and U.S. 69
- 1998 – U.S. 69 Initial Corridor Screening Evaluation
69Express kicks off with a series of civic leader interviews and statistically valid community surveys and focus groups to better understand the issues and opportunities surrounding improving the corridor. A broad-based community advisory group is established to provide input and insights regarding community preferences for the project.
U.S. 69 Corridor users, residents and businesses are engaged in developing the project’s technical analysis and proposed alternatives through a broad range of public involvement tools: public and virtual meetings; project website, social media and newsletter; media relations; community presentations; and other means.
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) undertake an Environmental Assessment (EA) to examine the environmental effects of the project. The goal is to help transportation officials make project decisions that balance engineering and transportation needs with social, economic, and natural environmental factors.
As the EA progresses, three Reasonable Alternatives emerge: No-Build (kept as a benchmark to measure against), Traditional Widening and Express Toll Lanes. The two Build Alternatives are carried forward for their ability to satisfy project needs and because they rate favorably against most other initial screening criteria when compared to other alternatives.
The 69Express Toll Feasibility Study is conducted to determine whether Express Toll Lanes could realistically and effectively manage corridor congestion, producing more reliable travel times. It concludes that they could — and also would generate sufficient revenue to support the operations, maintenance and lifecycle costs associated with tolling.
Express Lanes are selected as the Recommended Preferred Alternative for 69Express. It is determined that the Express Lanes best meet the Purpose and Need of the project, address congestion and traffic safety concerns within the corridor, result in fewer impacts to the natural and human environment and provide a lower-cost solution.
The Equity Committee will assist KDOT in identifying and mitigating potential impacts of express lane operations on communities of concern, with recommendations due in early 2023. The 13-member group includes diverse representatives from major Johnson County health, transit, business and social service providers. Members also engage with other community groups to ensure a broad range of voices are heard regarding potential toll impacts and mitigations.
“Commuters on U.S. 69 corridor are frustrated with increasing congestion and travel times. We must address these issues to keep the Overland Park community and economy growing.”
— Former Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach