The project to expand U.S. Highway 69 in Overland Park with toll lanes may include the building of 11 concrete barriers aimed at reducing noise for nearby homeowners along a 10-mile stretch of the highway between 103rd Street to 151st Street.
This part of the project requires a vote of some residents affected by the project.
Ballots have been mailed to all “benefitted receptors”, which are the residents who live in the areas that the project’s noise study determined could benefit from having the barriers, also known as noise walls.
Find more information about the noise walls and the overall project here.
At informational meetings conducted via Zoom last week, representatives with the Kansas Department of Transportation answered questions from Overland Park residents about possible noise wall construction and its potential impact.
Here are the answers to some of the project staff’s most frequently asked questions, which project staff answered at last week’s meetings.
How big would the walls be?
- Each wall would be roughly 12 to 16 feet tall, according to KDOT design plans.
- “The intent of this project is to maintain a consistent look as what has already been built in many other locations in Overland Park on other segments of either U.S 69 Or I-435,” said project representative Cameron McGown in one of last week’s Zoom calls.
Will trees and walking trails on nearby properties be impacted by the walls?
- KDOT staff said trees that are on private property will not be removed, although they may be trimmed.
- However, trees that are in KDOT’s right-of-way for the project likely will be removed.
- “This is a bit of a case-by case-situation,” McGown said. “But if they’re in KDOT’s right of way, probably there’s a likelihood that there is going to be some impact to those trees and shrubs.”
- Walking trails may be temporarily impacted by construction, but will not be removed, according to KDOT.
When would the walls be built?
- This part of the overall expansion project doesn’t have a set timeframe, but they will likely be built after the rest of the highway expansion is finished.
- McGown said that would likely be on the “back end” of the expansion project, which could some time in 2024 or 2025.
- “We’re intentionally providing a great deal of flexibility to the contractor on how they want to progress the work on all the improvements that are part of the 69Express project,” he said.
Who gets to vote on the noise walls?
- Overland Park residents who qualify as “Benefitted Receptors” get to vote.
- These are the residents who the state has determined would benefit the most based on their property’s projected noise level and reduction during the loudest hours of the day.
What happens if some walls get approved by votes, but some don’t?
- Each of the 11 walls require individual approval.
- Votes for each wall must reach at least 70% of “yes” votes from impacted residents in order for that particular wall to be built.
- If one wall meets that requirement but its neighboring wall does not, only the first will be built.
How can people vote?
- Each wall requires a separate vote, so residents will vote either in favor or opposed to the wall they’re identified as a “Benefitted Receptor” for.
- For rental properties impacted by a proposed wall, both tenants and property owners of that property get a vote
- Ballots must be returned by Friday, Feb. 7.
- Residents can drop off ballots at the HNTB Overland Park Office at 7400 West 129th Street or Overland Park City Hall at 8500 Santa Fe Drive.
- They can also be scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Find more information about the noise walls and the overall project here.