Flush Road project gets go-ahead

By The Mercury

The Pottawatomie County Commission Monday approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for improvements to the intersection of Flush Road and U.S. Highway 24.

Pottawatomie County will be responsible for right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and design of the project, with KDOT paying for 100 percent of the construction cost, estimated at $1.2 million.

The project is one of several along the highway corridor either under way or scheduled by KDOT in collaboration with municipalities who participated in an earlier corridor study.

“The corridor program has been a real bonus for us,” Leu Lowrey, public works director, told commissioners. “We’ll continue looking at intersection improvements up and down that highway. I’m just glad we were able to participate in that study and this what we’re getting in return.”

A corridor improvement project is currently under way at the intersection of Kaw Valley Road in Wamego, and future projects are planned at the intersections of Excel and Green Valley roads east of Manhattan.

The Flush Road project, planned for the summer of 2015, will include the addition of a right turn lane for westbound traffic turning north onto Flush Road; the extension of the right turn lane for eastbound traffic turning south onto Flush Road; and construction of an acceleration lane for traffic turning west onto U.S. 24 from Flush Road.

Since construction of the four-lane from Wamego to Manhattan, the Flush Road intersection has been the scene of a number of traffic accidents, including several fatalities.

Following the most recent fatality, KDOT reduced the speed limit on the highway to 65 mph and installed a caution light east of the intersection.

In other business Monday:

• Betty Abitz, register of deeds, reported 95 mortgages with an indebtedness of more than $10.5 million were filed with her office during the month of April.

“It was a little bit slower than a year ago,” Abitz told commissioners.

Abitz also reported the repeal of the mortgage registration tax during the most recent session of the Kansas Legislature.

The tax, which takes effect January 1, 2015, will be phased out over five years, but will allow county registrars to increase other recording fees to help compensate for the loss of revenue.

“It will not come close to meeting the same revenue, of course,” Abitz said, noting that her office collected $27,402 in mortgages taxes in April.

The Kansas Bankers Association and the Kansas Association of Realtors lobbied for the repeal of the tax since it does not apply to mortgages financed through federal entities.

• Scott Schwinn, county sanitarian, reported 571 tons of solid waste shipped from the county landfill in April — 314 tons less than the same period last year.

Schwinn said a majority of the decline is attributable to losing the solid waste disposal contract with the city of Rossville.

• The commission signed a contract with Larry Wilson Construction for renovation of the EMS training facility at Wamego. Wilson was low bidder on the project last month.

Approved an agreement and final plat for Black Jack Estates Unit 2, subject to receipt of letters of credit from the developers.

• Entered executive session for 30 minutes with John Watt, county counselor, and Greg Riat and Shane Yeager, sheriff and undersheriff, to discuss potential litigation.

There was no action taken following the session.

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