When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners discussed delaying an Eisenhower Road improvement project.

When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners discussed delaying an Eisenhower Road improvement project.

No vote was taken, but a majority of the commission seemed to favor a proposal by Leavenworth County Public Works Director David Lutgen to delay the project until as late as 2030 in order to focus on other road projects.

Lutgen proposed a plan for paving gravel roads in the county. He said the goal would be to pave 50 miles of roads during a 10-year period. He said county officials would first focus on gravel roads that have a daily traffic count of 350 vehicles or more. They then would focus on other gravel roads with a traffic count of more than 250 vehicles per day.

Lutgen's proposal included a list of potential projects.

County officials have plans to widen a section of Eisenhower Road from west of 13th Street to County Road 5. It is one of three specific road projects promised by commissioners as part of the renewal of a countywide sales tax.

Under Lutgen's proposal for the pavement of gravel roads, the Eisenhower Road project would be delayed.

Lutgen said the project would be delayed until 2030. But he said county officials plan to request federal grant funding for the Eisenhower Road project. If approved, the funding would be awarded in 2021-2022.

Commissioner Doug Smith said if the funding is awarded, the county would have to speed up the schedule for the Eisenhower Road project ahead of 2030.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said the county would be required to have a timeframe for carrying out the project if the funding is awarded.

Lutgen said his proposal for paving gravel roads would be a pay as you go plan that would not require the issuance of bonds.

Loughry said commissioners previously discussed using a pay as you go method for road projects.

He said issuing additional bonds could speed up road projects. But he said the county would have between $12 million and $15 million less money to spend on roads in the long run because of the interest on the bonds.

“Is this the direction you want to go?” Loughry said.

Commission Chairman Louis Klemp said he liked Lutgen's proposal. But Klemp expressed disappointment that the plan did not include acquisition of right-of-way for a future road to the west of Lansing.

Lutgen said the main focus now is on paving gravel roads.

Klemp said delaying the Eisenhower Road project “isn't going to kill Eisenhower.”

“That street is not dying today,” he said.

Smith said he agrees that Eisenhower needs to be tabled until commissioners find out if funding is awarded through the Mid-America Regional Council.

Smith said he would like to see the county achieve the goal of paving 50 miles of road in five years instead of 10.

Smith said he would like to have projects ready to go in case the county issues bonds.

Loughry said the issuance of bonds would not change the priority of projects.

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