The U.S. 69 Corridor Modernization and Expansion Project will determine how best to widen U.S. 69 to six lanes (three lanes in each direction) and modify interchanges that connect U.S. 69 to the local street network. One aspect being examined is whether tolling the new lane (also called an express toll lane) provides additional long-term safety, traffic flow and trip time reliability benefits. The existing general-purpose lanes would remain free under this option. The portion of U.S. 69 under study runs from just south of 179th Street to just north of 103rd Street in Overland Park, Kansas.
Express toll lanes are a strategy for improving congestion and travel time reliability. Express toll lanes enable drivers to choose if they want to pay a toll to drive in the free-flowing express lanes in order to achieve more reliable travel time. This has the added benefit of also reducing congestion in the toll-free general-purpose lanes. To accomplish this, the toll rate changes with traffic volumes to keep the toll lanes flowing smoothly while also improving traffic flow in the toll-free, general-purpose lanes. The current toll rate is communicated to drivers via signs so drivers can choose for themselves whether they want to pay that price to drive in the free-flowing toll lane.
How Express Toll Lanes Work
1. TOLL SIGN
Toll signs display the current price. Price will vary based on the level of congestion in the express toll lane and will be adjusted to maintain free-flow traffic.
2. ENTRY AND EXIT
Break in double white line shows drivers where they can enter and exit the express toll lane.
3. TOLLING TECHNOLOGY
Trips in the express toll lane are recorded electronically and tolls assessed based on the toll rate at that time.
Express Toll Lanes Configuration
A third lane in each direction, the express lanes, would be constructed on the inside of existing lanes, where the median and green space currently exists today. Lanes would be constructed at this location to take advantage of right-of-way that is already owned by KDOT. The express lane would be separated from the existing lanes using a buffer and marked with a wide double stripe. Northbound and southbound traffic would be separated by a concrete barrier.
Why Use Express Toll Lanes
Kansas has many serious transportation needs that must be addressed, and state funding is limited. State dollars will be the primary source of funding to improve U.S. 69, but local contributions help advance important projects more quickly and help ensure that such projects more fully meet local transportation needs. Express toll lanes offer a funding solution for Overland Park’s local contribution. As the tolls are collected, that revenue would reimburse KDOT for the initial construction investment of the new lanes over the next 20 or 30 years.
In addition to being a potential solution for funding the local contribution, express toll lanes are a proven congestion management tool that can better address congestion and trip reliability as traffic grows over time.
Kansas Tolling Legislation Requirements
In 2019, the Kansas Legislative Session passed new tolling legislation that includes the following requirements:
- Existing lanes cannot be tolled
- Tolling can only be collected on new lanes
- Tolls collected on a roadway can only be used on that roadway
- KDOT cannot toll a roadway without community support
- Communities have to ask KDOT to request tolling be evaluated further
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.