Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2001

System names county roads, although imprecisely

November 21, 2001

Eudora drivers may take for granted the process that went into naming the county roads they use every day. But there is a reason to the mishmash of numbers in the system.

Odd numbered routes run north and south, and even numbered routes run east and west. The numbers get higher from west to east and from north to south in Douglas County.

But why start road numbers with 10 if they run north-south and 4 if they run east-west?

"I think this was done kind of in conjunction with KDOT (Kansas Department of Transportation) years ago as part of a bigger overall system in counties, but I don't know to be honest why it's County Road 442 rather than 642," said Douglas County engineer Keith Browning.

Figuring out the numbering system isn't a precise science, either.

"The routes don't stay on one alignment," Browning said. "You can't say, 'Well, 1054 is four miles west of 1061' because 1061 and 1057are three miles apart."

Furthermore, Douglas County's numbering system doesn't carry over into surrounding counties. Drivers heading north on Douglas County 1061 will find themselves on Leavenworth County 1 if they cross the Kansas River.

"If you go all the way to the south county line, it's not Franklin County Route 1061," Browning said. "In fact, I don't even think they have a numbering system. A lot of them are named after states, for example."

But the county's other numbering system isn't as confusing, Browning said.

"When you start looking at E 911 numbers, which is how everyone's addresses are arrived at, it makes a lot more sense," he said.

That means N 100 Road is one mile north of the county line, and E 100 Road is one mile west of the western county line, ending with E 2100 near the Johnson County border.

That means a person living on Douglas County 1061 will actually have an address of E2100 Road.

"If it's a county road we refer to it as 1061," Browning said. "All the township roads are designated by their E 911 number."

A pattern in both the E 911 and county numbering system is evident, but the county roads aren't as cut and dried, Browning said.

"It's one of those deals where you shake your head and wonder, 'Why did they do it that way?'" he said.

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