U.S. 56 study foresees more lanes in the future
New lanes, reconfigured intersections and even access restrictions are envisioned along a 22-mile stretch of U.S. 56 Highway in Douglas and Johnson counties.
Such projects are included in draft recommendations of the U.S. 56 Corridor Management Plan, launched 15 months ago by the Kansas Department of Transportation and its partners, including Douglas County and the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Office. The study is intended to help accommodate anticipated development, including a planned intermodal distribution center near Gardner.
The plan does not call for immediate changes. Instead, it translates the comprehensive land-use plans already in place for Baldwin City, Edgerton, Gardner and adjacent rural areas into a workable road map for the U.S. highway that connects them all.
Included in the draft are additional lanes for the highway on both sides of Baldwin City. To the west, the highway would go to three lanes to what would be East 1550 Road, a collector street envisioned for the future.
To the east, the highway would go to three lanes until it reaches the High Street intersection, where it would go to four lanes until hitting East 1900 Road. The widening would accommodate an anticipated increase in truck traffic from an industrial park that’s in the works.
Other recommendations — such as those envisioning reconfigured intersections and potential access limitations — are being refined for discussion during two public open houses, set for next month in Edgerton and Baldwin City.
The study is being compiled as part of a $457,000 contract with TranSystems Corp., of Kansas City, Mo. Douglas County and the planning office are among seven partners pooling money to cover $150,000 of the bill.
The study is scheduled for completion in late February or early March.
The Kansas Department of Transportation and its hired consultants plan to share draft recommendations included in the U.S. 56 Corridor Management Plan, during two public open houses:
• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 9, Mildale Farm Equestrian Barn, 35250 W. 199th St., Edgerton.
• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 11, American Legion Hall, 803 High St., Baldwin City.
For more information, visit us56corridorplan.org.
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