KDOT to increase visibility on US 24

By The Mercury

The Pottawatomie County Commission Monday approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation to improve the sight distance near the Flush Road and John Scott Road intersection north of U.S. Highway 24.

The county learned recently it had been selected for up to $360,000 in funding for the project through KDOT’s High Risk Rural Road Program, according to Leu Lowrey, public works director.

The funding is to pay for 90 percent of construction and inspection to reduce the size of a hill near the intersection to improve the sight distance to the north for motorists pulling onto Flush Rd. from John Scott Rd.

The county will be responsible for paying 10 percent of the construction, as well as for the design, acquiring right-of-way and relocating utilities––estimated at between $70,000 and $75,000, according to Lowrey.

The project, scheduled for the summer of 2015, could coincide with improvements to the intersection of Flush Rd. and Highway 24, another KDOT project scheduled to be let for bid in early 2014.

“That could be a very busy area here in late 2014 and 2015,” Lowrey told commissioners.

The project at Highway 24 and Flush Road is designed to improve safety at the intersection.

The original design called for a third lane on Flush Rd. north of the highway; an acceleration lane for motorists turning west onto Highway 24; and lengthening the turning lane for eastbound motorists turning north onto Flush Rd.

Safety features added to the design since the original contract include adding right turn lanes onto Flush Rd. from both the east and west off of U.S. 24.Lowrey and the commissioners also reviewed proposed contract specifications for improvements along Excel Road to accommodate commercial development north of Highway 24.

The agreement will spell out responsibilities for the county and the developer for sanitary sewer extension, right-of-way acquisition and water retention in the area west of Excel Rd.

That project could also coincide with a KDOT improvement project at the intersection of Excel Rd. and Highway 24, scheduled for 2014.

“If we could combine those projects, that would be great,” Lowrey said. If not, the improvements along Excel will be expedited to accommodate planned development, he said.

In other business Monday:

• Betty Abitz, register of deeds, said 111 mortgages valued at more than $14 million were filed with her office during September.

“It was a good month…lots of mortgages,” Abitz told commissioners.

• Tim Eisenbarth, noxious weed director, reported more than $188,000 in chemical sales so far in 2013.

Eisenbarth further reported that the county’s recycling committee sold 47.95 tons of cardboard for a profit of $3,332; 4,060 pounds of chemical jugs for $609; and sold 20 tons of newsprint.

• The commission approved a request to rezone from A-R (agriculture-residential) to C-H (highway commercial) 9.7 acres at the southeast corner of the intersection of Excel Road and U.S. Highway 24.

The planning commission unanimously recommended the rezoning request by Diamond Roofing to build an office and warehouse on the property.

The building site will have to be elevated between four and five feet due to its location in the 100-year floodplain, according to John Keller, county  planner.

• County Counselor John Watt said he is working with the title company to finalize title searches for an upcoming tax foreclosure sale.

The sale will include properties with three or more years of delinquent taxes from 2010 and before.

“Some will come in and pay and for others it will be like pulling teeth,” Watt told commissioners.

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