Turnpike Proposal Problems
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Posted: 12:08 AM Mar 24, 2006
Turnpike Proposal Problems
Residents are upset about a road project.
Reporter: Mike Marusarz
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Some residents in Leavenworth County are fuming over a proposed road project. They're not upset about what's being built but what's not being built. The Kansas Turnpike Authority is planning to build an interchange in Leavenworth County. But folks who live in the area say the road leading to it is not safe enough.

Residents on Leavenworth County Road One want the KTA to hold off its plans to put in an interchange until the whole road is improved.
"It's very narrow, hilly, with low visibility. It's a two lane highway, it's very steep," said resident Julie Downes.

The Leavenworth County Commission only has enough money improve the northern section of the road. But residents say improvements are needed to the southern portion too before the interchange goes in.

"When you do something like this it has consequences. It’s kind of the situation with the Leavenworth County when you're in for a dime you’re in for a dollar. They need to fix the entire road,” explained Attorney Charles Benjamin.

The Kansas Turnpike Authority assumed that both sections would be improved when it agreed to install an interchange. Even with improvements done only to the northern portion, KTA studies showed the project would still work but ultimately the county is responsible for the road.

"The county is responsible to keep it in a safe condition," said KTA president Michael Johnston.

In a letter to the KTA Thursday the Leavenworth County Commission says it will address the safety concerns and plans to fix the whole road.

"The Leavenworth County Commission has committed in their own words to making sure the road south of the interchange would be a safe road and they will make the necessary improvements," said Johnston.

The citizens plan to meet with the commission but they fear even if the southern portion of the road is scheduled for improvements they will not occur before the interchange goes in. The KTA says it's too early for a project timetable.