To prevent the spread of coronavirus in our community, Johnson County Government has ordered residents to stay at home except for essential needs, beginning Tuesday, March 24 for 30 days.
U.S. 69 is a major highway that carries commuters, travelers, and other drivers through Overland Park. The Kansas Department of Transportation maintains highways in Overland Park, including U.S. 69 and I-435, I-35, and portions of Shawnee Mission Parkway.
Improvements to U.S. 69 are a top priority for Overland Park residents, businesses, and elected officials. This web page provides information and updates about any upcoming improvements to U.S. 69 in Overland Park, and will be updated as discussions about improvements progress.
Commuters and travelers on the U.S. 69 corridor in Overland Park are frustrated with congestion and increasing travel times. As development continues, traffic volume is projected to double, and travel times are projected to triple by 2045. Transportation improvements are needed to address congestion and safety issues and keep the Overland Park community and economy moving.
The City of Overland Park and KDOT are exploring options to improve the U.S. 69 corridor.
The current estimate for the cost of improving this section of the highway is $300 million.
There is not enough money to fund all improvement projects across the state of Kansas. Communities can accelerate project schedules by providing some level of matching funds. Historically, Overland Park has helped fund state transportation projects, and Overland Park recognizes the need to help fund a portion of the improvements needed on U.S. 69.
One option for a funding partnership is the addition of a toll lane.
Currently, there is no funding in Overland Park’s budget for U.S. 69 improvements or a funding match.
In 2019, City staff requested KDOT perform a high-level Phase 1 feasibility study. This assesses whether a new toll lane in each direction, in addition to the existing two free lanes in each direction, are feasible for this section of the highway from an engineering and economic standpoint.
City and KDOT staff presented the results of a high-level study considering express toll lane feasibility at a City Council Committee of the Whole meeting on March 16, 2020.
The study indicated express toll lanes are a possibility for this corridor of U.S. 69 and warrant additional consideration. Documents presented on March 16 are available below.
Express toll lanes can help manage long-term congestion.
This concept is already used in many major metropolitan areas like Austin, Dallas, Denver and Minneapolis. Express lanes offer drivers more reliable timeframes to get to their destinations and take back the time they would have wasted sitting in traffic.
The following steps explain the express toll lane experience:
In busy periods when the toll price for using the lane rises, some drivers will choose not to enter the toll lane. The drivers who choose to pay a toll are provided faster, more consistent travel times. By offering a consistently (relatively) free-flowing lane at all times, there is less pressure to build additional highway lanes in the future.
Tolling new lanes can help local governments raise matching funds for transportation improvements. Here is how the process works:
Each step includes continued review to ensure the community’s commitment to the project.
All toll revenue collected from a facility or improvement is required by state statute to remain with that roadway. Tolls pay for ongoing construction and maintenance of the improved roadway.
The 2019 Kansas legislature approved changes to approved tolling projects, allowing an option for express lane tolling as a funding source that didn’t exist in Kansas before. Under the changes, only new lanes may be tolled. Any existing “free” lanes must remain free.
On a central, urban corridor like U.S. 69, building an additional general-purpose lane would not alleviate congestion because that lane would soon be full, perpetuating the congestion problem. Express lanes are an innovative congestion management tool and could make sense on U.S. 69 where bottlenecks occur daily during peak travel times.
Express toll lanes and transit are complimentary. They can work together by offering transit a free pass on the express toll lane, improving on-time transit service reliability and encouraging more transit use.
The high-level Phase 1 toll feasibility study is current evaluating whether tolling a new lane is a feasible option between 103rd and 151st Streets.
There are no toll booths with express toll lanes.
Drivers choose if they want to pay to use the free-flowing express toll lane by using a K-TAG or other similar transponder. If they choose to enter the express toll lane, their K-TAG account is automatically charged based on the toll rate assessed at that time.
Signage and striping are used to make sure everyone understands the new lane is a toll lane. Ample space and signage will allow drivers time to enter and exit the express toll lane as needed.
The exact cost would depend on a variety of factors. Toll signs before the express toll lane area would display the current price for drivers with a K-TAG. The price will vary based on the level of congestion in the express toll lane and will be adjusted to maintain free-flow traffic.
If the high-level Phase 1 feasibility study is positive and there is support from the City Council, KDOT and the City will begin a longer, Phase 2 feasibility study, which will include more detailed engineering and financing research and a public engagement component, including a public meeting to assess support for the project.
KDOT has provided several resources on its website that explain various aspects of express toll lanes.
For more information, please contact:
Overland Park City Engineer
KDOT Deputy Secretary