Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2006

Managing bypass issue will be test

March 30, 2006

Eudora has been frequently reminded lately that it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Perhaps the biggest tap on the shoulder in this regard is the decision by the Kansas Turnpike Authority to support Leavenworth County and the city of Tonganoxie's favored new exit on the turnpike seven miles straight north of Eudora.

With that, Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger discovered concern with the safety of Eudora residents from the "10,000" extra vehicles that exit would put on our city's streets, a figure developed somewhere other than any actual research conducted by the KTA or the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Of course, the Lawrence mayor's chief concern -- as it should be -- is what is best for his city. And that would be placing the turnpike exit to the west, nearer Lawrence.

Officials with the KTA say that isn't going to happen. And in light of that, Leavenworth County commissioners promised to improve Leavenworth County Road 1 south of the future exit.

As we've said before, that's an opportunity and a challenge. Others to the east are eyeing the KTA and Leavenworth County decision and seeing a chance to link it to a long-discussed and needed north-south route in western Johnson County. It is a route with appeal to the new owners of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, who could supply five miles of easement.

That leaves Eudora with a significant amount of traffic likely headed its way with neighbors to the east and west probably happy to help at the cost of siphoning off most of the traffic that could be beneficial to the local economy.

Obviously, Eudora is going to need allies if its chosen alternative is to prevail, whatever that is. The city would improve its chances if it moved quickly to get something up on the drawing board. Although it could be resolved to Eudora's benefit, it's going to require an adroit dance by city leaders.

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