Federal grants making Leavenworth Road safer for drivers and walkers

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Drivers along Leavenworth Road may have noticed some changes recently. The Unified Government is in the middle of modernizing the corridor, to make it safer for neighbors and travelers.

For years it wasn't unusual to see kids walking in the street, to and from school along Leavenworth Road, because there were no sidewalks.

That's changing now as walkways are being installed on both sides of the road from 38th to 63rd streets.

New LED street lights, storm drains and curb and gutter are designed to make the neighborhoods more livable.

The nearly $20-million project includes 80 percent federal grants from the Mid America Regional Council.

The first phase will be completed this summer, with improvements up to 78th Street scheduled to be finished by 2022.

"Every time I drive down this street I look right behind me," said Jane Winkler Philbrook, a Unified Government commissioner. "I look at this wonderful wall and I look at all the walls we've had to build, just so we can have sidewalks. I would say we are going to get our money's worth. This is going to be phenomenal. It will also help with building business, more businesses up and down this street."

The Kansas Department of Transportation is helping the Unified Government pay the local share of this project.

Upgraded traffic signals and new turn lanes will ease the flow of people through the area and better connect churches, schools and senior centers along the route.

Already Wyandotte County has approved plans for a new convenience store and gas station at 38th Street and Leavenworth Road, thanks in part to the infrastructure improvements that have been made.

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