The U.S. 69 Expansion Project is examining how best to improve one of the state’s busiest highways to address growing safety, travel time reliability and congestion issues in the study 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 about 50 years old and overdue for replacement. Meanwhile, congestion is growing; peak travel times are expected to triple over the next few years, with a trip through the entire corridor taking 30 minutes or more.
Ultimately, safety and congestion improvements will depend upon design and funding decisions yet to be made as a result of this Project. These improvements likely will include a variety of strategies. It may also include building a new express toll lane in each direction in addition to the existing general purpose lanes. The study portion of the Project is underway and will continue through 2021 along with an extensive public engagement campaign to ensure the community has significant opportunities to provide feedback on U.S. 69 corridor needs and preferences.
The Project began in October 2020 and involves conducting an Environmental Assessment (EA), as is required by the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), to determine if there are significant environmental impacts associated with proposed improvements. The Project also will determine if adding express toll lanes for northbound and southbound traffic could offer a less congested and more sustainable alternative. This option requires additional traffic, safety and revenue analyses to supplement the EA. The process, shown at right, is expected to be completed by late 2021. If the results from these analyses are positive, then final design and construction could begin by 2022.
Identify purpose, needs and project goals.
Which of the ideas for expanding the U.S. 69 corridor are most feasible?
What are the social, economic and environmental impacts of the alternatives carried forward?
Identify the alternative that is preferred for corridor improvement.
What do the resource agencies and the public think of the proposed solution? Have we missed anything?
The EA is finalized. The FHWA determines if a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be granted to move forward with design and construction, or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared.
The U.S. 69 Corridor Modernization and Expansion Project involves a comprehensive process for determining how best to improve the corridor. The schedule below shows when some of the most significant project activities are planned to occur under an express toll lane scenario. If other improvement strategies are used, the project design would change and the schedule likely would take longer to complete.
How We Got Here
Safety and congestion issues have been identified along U.S. 69 in a series of studies and related projects conducted over the last 25 years. During that time, commuters and travelers have grown increasingly frustrated with higher accident rates, growing congestion and increasing travel times. The problem is only expected to increase. As development continues, traffic volume is projected to double, and travel times are projected to triple over the next two decades. Not surprisingly, U.S. 69 improvements were identified as the metropolitan area’s most important priority during Local Consult meetings held across the State of Kansas in 2019.
Corridor Study Timeline
For nearly two decades, the Project Partners have studied conditions on U.S. 69 and many — but not all — potential solutions.
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is an agency of more than 2,500 transportation professionals who together plan, construct and manage the transportation infrastructure in Kansas. It oversees the state’s highway, rail, air, bike/pedestrian and public transit transportation programs.
Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) maintains 236 miles of user-fee supported roadway from the Oklahoma border to Kansas City. The KTA doesn’t receive state or federal tax funds. KTA’s mission is to move Kansas forward by operating a safe, reliable and customer-valued turnpike system in a fiscally responsible, businesslike manner.
The City of Overland Park (OP) is the second-largest city in Kansas, with a population of more than 199,000 residents and a land area of 75.6 square miles. City government provides a broad range of services to residents and taxpayers, including focusing on the safe and efficient movement of drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and transit users.