Leavenworth County commissioners were briefed Wednesday on a study that is looking at a possible outer loop highway for the Kansas City area.

Leavenworth County commissioners were briefed Wednesday on a study that is looking at a possible outer loop highway for the Kansas City area.

If constructed as proposed, a portion of the highway would cross into Leavenworth County. In fact, the northern portion of the route reviewed with commissioners ends near Fort Leavenworth.

Commissioners met Wednesday with representatives of the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Turnpike Authority, Mid-America Regional Council and HNTB Corporation, which is working on the study.

The discussion came during a County Commission work session.

Cameron McGown, associate vice president for HNTB, acknowledged the idea of an outer loop beltway has been considered in the past.

“This isn’t the first time it’s been looked at,” he said.

He said the issue was studied as early as 1995.

The four-lane divided freeway, as proposed in the study, would connect with U.S. 73-Kansas 7 Highway at its north end and stretch south on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area, eventually turning east and crossing into Missouri. The south side of the highway would end at Interstate 49 in Missouri.

The estimated cost of the outer loop highway is $3.392 billion. McGown said the road likely would have to be constructed in segments.

McGown said the study is looking at whether the use of tolls would be a viable way to fund the road. Based on the work of the study to this point, it does not look like it would be a very feasible toll road, he said.

During the meeting, County Administrator Mark Loughry asked if there has been discussion about a private-public partnership to construct the highway, mentioning the Patriot Highway.

The Patriot Highway was an idea of a privately-owned toll road in the Kansas City area that would have crossed through part of Leavenworth County. The idea was pitched to the County Commission in 2017 with a request that commissioners assist with acquiring land for the project in Leavenworth County through eminent domain.

Commissioners at the time killed their participation in the project by permanently tabling a proposed memorandum of understanding with a consulting group. The project had faced opposition from residents in the county.

Representatives of HNTB indicated Wednesday they have had no discussion with anyone connected to the Patriot Highway proposal.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Commissioner Jeff Culbertson brought up a proposal for an additional Missouri River bridge in Leavenworth County.

He suggested the bridge can provide a connection to a road such as Eisenhower Road or Gilman Road on the Kansas side and 152 Highway on the Missouri side.

Culbertson argued the bridge would allow someone to travel from Lansing to Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Missouri, in about 10 minutes.

Matt Schmitz, community and economic development director for the city of Lansing, also attended Wednesday’s meeting. He suggested that the outer loop highway could connect with the bridge proposed by Culbertson instead of extending farther north toward Fort Leavenworth.

Ron Achelpohl, director of transportation and environment for MARC, said the bridge proposal could be submitted for consideration for a long-term plan for the Kansas City area.

Michael J. Moriarty, chief of KDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Planning, recommended that proponents of the bridge contact KDOT and the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR