Interchange study good investment
The Eudora City Council agreed last week to study the feasibility of adding an interchange at the Winchester Road overpass over Kansas Highway 10. The $14,000 study will be supported by $3,500 contributions from both the Eudora United Methodist Church and local developer Tom Horner.
It's unlikely the study will prompt the city to take on the expensive task of building access ramps to the highway. With the need to acquire right of way and ever increasing construction costs, freeway intersections are expensive. The Kansas Department of Transportation roughly estimated the cost in the millions. Worse yet, KDOT doesn't have any present interest in the Winchester Road intersection. Even if it did, its interest would only be exploratory because it doesn't have any money for new projects until the current highway improvement plan is completed in 2010.
Nonetheless, it's foolish not to plan, and K-10 access via Winchester Road -- the city's only viable north-south collector street other than Church Street -- will be an obvious need.
It could be argued traffic currently travels on Church Street with few restrictions, although that point of view might not be shared by those looking for an opening from K-10 access ramps during morning and evening peak drive times. But the population of Eudora -- we've been told -- could double in as little as seven years. Much of that growth will be to the south of K-10. The implications to Church Street are obvious.
The need for easy access across K-10 has implications beyond traffic flow. A city divided by such a barrier could have a tendency to lose community cohesiveness, leading to the indifference of new residents to problems in the older sections of the city.
KDOT will want a new transportation plan someday. And if the past is any indication, the department will invite proposed projects as it pitches that need. Those communities with needs and benefits identified and plans in place will enjoy a competitive advantage such as the study would give Eudora.