If you’ve found yourself crawling along in slow, congested traffic on Santa Fe, just east of Interstate 35 in Olathe, city officials have noticed. But don’t expect the orange traffic cones to go up just yet.
The city is considering that spot, between North Clairborne Road and South Mur-Len Road, along with many others in the city as part of its transportation master plan to address the current and future traffic needs of Olathe.
Celia Duran, deputy director and city engineer, said the plan is to present the master plan to the City Council on May 3. Then, the council will take all the sites mentioned into consideration, then help to prioritize projects. The plan will include potential projects as much as 10 and 25 years in the future.
Currently, $200,000 is already authorized for a study that will analyze the situation and propose different solutions for the area at Santa Fe.
“We’re going to get someone on board, and they’re going to give us a lot of different options. I don’t want to say we only have two options,” Duran said.
The study would take six to 10 months, and there’s no planned date for construction. Possibilities for the stretch include widening the road or constructing a reverse frontage road, which is a parallel road that runs behind developed property on the main road.
The city has not authorized any construction funds yet, and Duran said they don’t know how much a project at Santa Fe would cost. Once they identify the costs, that would become part of a capital improvement plan.
The idea is to be “maintaining what we have but also improving it to make it better,” Duran said.
A good portion of the congestion comes from traffic exiting I-35. Duran said more than 39,000 vehicles travel there every day. Between 2011 and 2013, there were 353 crashes, at a rate of 16.52 crashes per million vehicle miles traveled.
The accident rate is “a little higher than average, just because there’s so much traffic moving through,” Duran said.
According to an annual survey, congested east-west traffic is one of the top concerns for Olathe residents each year, Duran said, and the Santa Fe corridor fix is “something we know we’re going to have to do at some point.
Beth Lipoff: firstname.lastname@example.org