Drivers have around six or seven more months to abide existing conditions on U.S. Highway 69 in Overland Park before construction on express toll lanes begins later this year.
Eventually, the construction disruption is expected to result in a less painful commute, toll lanes advocates say.
City and state approval has already been given for the project that would add an optional toll lane in each direction of the busy highway, with the two existing lanes to remain toll free.
Traffic tie-ups on that stretch of highway have been an ongoing concern for Overland Park commuters for years.
The first phase of construction will add toll lanes to the road beginning at 103rd Street and ending at 151st Street.
The interchange at 167th Street, plus some widening of that road was also added to the first phase, but that part of the project will not include an extra length of toll lanes.
But before the first shovel is turned, a few other things must happen.
What to expect this year
Noise study: The Kansas Department of Transportation is currently identifying neighbors most affected by traffic noise and inviting them to several meetings in late January to discuss noise barriers.
KDOT will invite property owners and tenants who could see at least a five-decibel reduction from noise abatement measures.
Engineers have identified eleven locations as far south as 151st Street that are loud enough to justify a noise barrier. Before that happens, though, at least 70% of impacted neighbors must vote in favor.
Building sound walls would add an estimated $30 million to the project, which would come from KDOT funds.
The noise study was included in a larger environmental impact study recently published by the highway department. That study can be found here or in hard copy at Overland Park City Hall, Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, Blue Valley Library or Oak Park Library.
Comments on the environmental study will be accepted online through January.
Equity report: Highway officials will also use most of 2022 to study whether the impacts of the new lanes will be felt equally among the road’s users and will look at whether corrections need to be made if some groups are more adversely affected than others.
KDOT was to form an equity committee in late December, with a report due at the end of 2022.
Design-build team: The state highway department is also working on finding a design-build team to do the work.
In December, KDOT announced its short list of applicants from its request for qualifications.
- Clarkson Construction Co./Ideker Inc.
- Granite Construction Inc./Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company
- Ames Construction/Emery Sapp and Sons
KDOT is set to announce its choice in late July. The first phase of the new expanded highway is estimated to be open and operational in 2025.