TOPEKA, Kan. — Johnson County drivers support new toll lanes, according to a new survey through the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority.
People who live in Johnson and Miami counties completed the survey in May. Here are some key takeaways from the survey:
- 54% of people living in Overland Park believe drivers who use U.S. 69 should have the most responsibility for paying for improvements between West 103rd and West 179th streets.
- 62% of Johnson County drivers who took the survey said they would use an Express Toll Lane to avoid congestion under certain conditions.
- 62% of people indicated that minimizing traffic flow during construction should be the most important issue when planning improvements
- 59.8% of respondents think improvements to U.S. 69 should begin within the next two years.
The findings were the second of two surveys by the Kansas Department of Transportation as it prioritizes and plans the process to expand the highway.
The Overland Park City Council and Project Team will review recommendations in the coming weeks and discuss how the project will move forward.
One option is to expand U.S. 69 between West 103rd and West 179th streets by adding one new express toll lane in each direction. The other option is to add general-purpose lanes without the tolls.
Transportation experts say just building more lanes would be expensive though, and simple toll roads proved unpopular. That’s why they came up with express toll lanes.
It would be all electronic tolling, officials say, and no one is forced to drive in the express toll lane if they don’t want to.
“So whether you had a transponder you use on the Kansas Turnpike or we can take a picture of your license plate, you would not slow down. You would maintain speed, and we would send you a bill in the mail or you would be billed through your K-TAG account,” said Lindsey Douglas, Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation.
The cost would also fluctuate depending on demand, Douglas said.
Construction on the $300 million project could begin next year and continue until 2025.
All the money collected would go toward the project. The state estimates the project could be paid off between 2035 and 2042, and then by law, the express toll lanes would go away.