Perhaps the one thing sure Thursday when the County Commission, Lansing City Council and residents discussed the McIntyre Road project — there is no agreement among the entities.
Perhaps the one thing sure Thursday when the County Commission, Lansing City Council and residents discussed the McIntyre Road project — there is no agreement among the entities. And the council chambers were filled to capacity with residents, though probably a dozen of them came forward to speak.
County Deputy Public Works Director Sarah Shafer presented an overview of the project which will be funded by the 1-cent sales tax voters extended for 20 years. The proposed $7 million project involves about two miles of improvements between K-7 to K-5 highway and it is labeled as a collector road project for both the county and the portion that is within Lansing city limits.
Lansing council members had expressed some dissatisfaction when county commissioners had mentioned the improvements might be chip and seal rather than an asphalt surface. Several residents who live on McIntyre expressed concerns Thursday that the speed proposed, 45 mph, would be too fast and the improvements too expensive.
Right now, Shafer said, the county is about 95 percent complete of a design phase that will cost about $420,000, and this design phase calls for the 45 mph speed.
Dan Butler, a property owner along the part of the road slated for improvement, said he though they’re “spending twice what they should be,” especially during a time when Kansas is going through such difficult economic times.
“And it takes us nowhere but to a bad road (K-5),” Butler lamented. The entrance to his property will be raised 13 feet in front of his house, which he said “will make it an interesting entrance and exit in snow and ice.”
Butler said the numbers who voted in the sales tax election didn’t indicate a “huge mandate” for this and other improvements.
Another property owner along the road pointed out 14,700 voted, with 9,800 voting for it, and he didn’t think it was just for eight or nine people to stop the project.
He said a lot is spent for maintenance of the road, so it’s time to actually improve it. He considers it “planning for the future.”
Another property owner who lives near Butler said he didn’t disagree with paving the road, “but I don’t see a reason to over engineer it just to get to Wollcott Road,” when the money could be spent somewhere else.
Lisa Holleron, who’s lived on McIntyre Road for many years, said she moved there so she could be in the country and she thinks the speed and safety concerns would also impact property values. Now, she said, there is not supposed to be commercial vehicles along that road, but the improvement would allow that.
She’s especially concerned that 45 mph would be too fast for a bus route.
Shafer said the road is posted 35 mph at one end and 25 mph at the other end, but the average speed now is about 42 mph. That was one reason the 45 mph which is part of the collector design didn’t seem like a drastic change.
A Lansing resident, Brian West, said he wasn’t a property owner along the road, but he voted for the sales tax in large part because it did include improvement to McIntyre Road. He thinks it needs to be a “modern road,” not chip and seal and done halfway or it will hurt the county’s economic development efforts.
Still another woman who is near the property said she wants the improvements because it’s a route to the high school and at some point, her children and many others their age, will be driving on it.
Council member Greg Buehler asked if the city and county didn’t have some discretion in setting a different speed limit, citing instances when they’ve done that within the city. City Attorney Greg Robinson said it’s possible but there has to be a traffic study before doing so.
Shafer said if the speed is lowered, say to 35 mph, it would change the scope of the project, including the grade, the fill and the size of the lanes and the right-of-way. If you want to change the scope and the speed, you need to change the design, she said, which is now 95 percent complete.
Though several residents had suggested the County Commission should make the decision, since the county is funding the road, Shafer said the route includes the city as well, so there needs to be agreement.
Doug Smith, the newest county commissioner and also the chairman, said the road will be improved and he wouldn’t support chip and seal. As it stands now, he supports the 45 mph. Commissioner Clyde Graeber pointed out there couldn’t be a different design within the city and in the county area.
Lansing Mayor Mike Smith, who moderated the meeting, suggested residents could stay after the meeting if they wanted to talk to city or county staff. Shafer also provided forms for citizens to fill out if they didn’t feel comfortable coming forward to speak. She said she’d get back with them within a week.