OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — After a year-long review, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have released the results of an environmental assessment related to the U.S. 69 Highway Toll Project

The study evaluates roughly 10 miles of roadway from south of 179th Street to just north of 103rd Street in Overland Park.

The study compares potential environmental impacts and infrastructure improvements along the highway that could be achieved by means of traditional road widening, the express toll lane project and the option to leave the roadway as it is currently (no-build alternative). 

Traffic Congestion 

A traffic study was conducted for the 69 Corridor based on crash data from KDOT from 2015 to 2019. 

According to the data, there were approximately 1,712 crashes on U.S. 69 Highway between 103rd Street and 179th Street in the four year time period. Those incidents included four fatalities, 343 crashes involving some form of injury and 1,365 involving property damage. 

According to the study, when compared to other four-lane highways in urban areas across the state, 6 of 10 segments of U.S. 69 Highway exceed the statewide average crash rate for either total crashes or fatal crashes. 

The FHWA created a future crash analysis to project the change in crashes between the 2019 conditions and potential conditions in 2050 if no improvements are made.

If no improvements are made to the corridor by 2050, crashes are predicted to increase by roughly 65%. 

Additionally, if no improvements are made, the study estimates northbound traffic between 179th Street and 103rd Street during the peak morning travel times could jump from a 15-minute to an 81-minute commute by 2050. Southbound traffic flow during peak evening travel times could increase from 13 minutes to 74 minutes by 2050. 

Traffic Noise

A noise analysis for the toll lane project shows 23 noise sensitive areas throughout the project and recommends 14 noise walls be installed in various locations along the highway. 

Next month, Overland Park residents will start receiving ballots to weigh in on adding roughly $30 million to the toll lane project to cover the cost of constructing new noise reduction walls along the corridor. 

If approved, 11 of the noise walls would be constructed as part of the first phase of the project with the remaining four built in later phases. According to the study, the installation of noise walls could affect roughly 1,790 residents along the corridor. 

Impacts to Parks and Trails 

During construction, KDOT anticipates several temporary closures and detours throughout parks and trail systems within Overland Park. 

Parks and trails impacted by construction will include: 

  • 143rd Street Bike Lane
  • 143rd Street Trail
  • 151st Street Trail
  • Brandon Place Trail. 
  • Corporate Woods Trail
  • Grant Street Bike Lane
  • Indian Creek Bike and Hike Trail
  • Indian Valley Park
  • Kingston Lake Park
  • Lowell Avenue Trail
  • Nottingham South Park
  • Tomahawk Creek Trail
  • U.S. 69 Trails 

Environmental impact

In June, KDOT conducted a field investigation to identify 2.13 acres of wetlands and approximately 9,990 linear feet of open stream channels located within the study area. The toll lane project is anticipated to impact approximately 0.65 acres of wetlands.

Based on a search of the Kansas Biological Survey (KBS) Natural Resource Planner completed in January 2021, no records of threatened or endangered species were identified within the project area. 

KDOT performed asbestos and lead testing on bridges and structures within the project area. No asbestos was detected on area bridges; however, Antioch Road crossings over U.S. 69 (Bridge #0122 and Bridge #0284) tested positive for lead paint.

According to the study, the two bridges are not anticipated to be impacted by the toll lane project.

Construction on the toll lane project is expected to begin by mid-2022 with the new toll lanes open for use by 2025.

KDOT will accept public comment on the Environmental Assessment through January 22, 2022. Questions or comments can be submitted to KDOT through the 69 Express website.