Kansas Highway 10 could get a toll lane in an attempt to ease traffic issues in Johnson County
The roughly 17.5-mile stretch of K-10 that runs through Johnson County and its surrounding traffic corridor have long been considered in need of improvement by state and local leaders. The highway sees some 80,000 cars a day, and an express toll way may
Kansas Highway 10 and its surrounding corridor could look quite different through Johnson County over the next few years.
Possible improvements now on the table include adding express toll lanes, widening the highway and other solutions all aimed at drawing down congestion on this major east-west connection.
On Tuesday, Cameron McGowan, the project manager for the ongoing K-10 corridor study from engineering firm HNTB, told the Olathe City Council that nothing is set in stone right now.
K-10 in Johnson County has been studied before
The roughly 17.5-mile stretch of K-10 that runs through Johnson County and its surrounding traffic corridor have long been considered in need of improvement by state and local leaders.
Over the years, possible improvement plans and the corridor’s needs have been studied a number of times by the Kansas Department of Transportation and local municipalities.
However, McGowan said Tuesday that none of the improvements that previous findings have called for have come to fruition.
On top of that, just half of the “Johnson County Gateway” project first envisioned at K-10 and I-435 in 2011 was ever built.
Now, as traffic continues to increase and growth in the western part of the county booms, state and local leaders are looking at K-10 again, particularly the area between Cedar Creek Parkway in Olathe and where K-10 ends at I-435 in Lenexa.
KDOT sees a number of problems on K-10
One of the major focuses of past and current K-10 studies has been on how to improve the safety of the highway and its surrounding road network.
K-10 itself has a number of major sharp curves on it, particularly as you get close to where I-435 and K-10 merge.
Daily traffic counts on the highway are high, as well: KDOT estimates there are about 80,000 cars traveling K-10 east of Cedar Creek Parkway in Olathe a day.
Infrastructure — including bridges — is also outdated or insufficient in some areas.
All of that together exacerbates safety concerns and increases congestion, McGowan said.
Express toll lanes are possible
One solution discussed at length was the potential to add an express toll lane on K-10 through Johnson County, likely mostly in Lenexa, where traffic picks up closer to I-435.
This is a relatively novel approach for Kansas highway management and would be similar to what is currently being done to address congestion on U.S. Highway 69 in Overland Park.
Another would be to improve east to west connections along K-10 that could draw some traffic off the highway. What exactly that would entail and which roads might be affected is unclear.
More traditional widening is also an option, which would entail adding more lanes to K-10. Technology could also be deployed to help manage capacity on K-10.
Local and state leadership could also land on a combination of these options.
The KDOT study of the K-10 corridor will likely last well into next year, including a connected study into the possible addition of an express toll lane.
Over the next several months, there’s expected to be a number of additional public discussions on the matter, including some time for public input.
Any solutions that are ultimately selected will require approval from KDOT and affected cities, including Lenexa and Olathe, as well as reviews from the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the State Finance Council, McGowan said.
Additionally, McGowan said any plan for K-10 would likely be realized over a number of phases spread out over time.
This story was originally published on the Shawnee Mission Post.