Pottawatomie County commission gets update on Flush Rd. project

By The Mercury

One of two U.S. Highway 24 corridor improvement projects has been approved by the Kansas Department of Transportation, Pottawatomie County Commissioners learned Monday.

Improvement to the Flush Road intersection has been selected for funding under the KDOT corridor development program, Leu Lowrey, public works director, told commissioners.

Improvement to the Green Valley Road intersection — a second project submitted for funding late last year — may still be in the running, Lowrey said.

Pottawatomie County is eligible for corridor development funds since it participated in the Corridor Management Plan — a study of the U.S. Highway 24 Corridor from Wamego to Manhattan.

“We’re real happy about that (Flush Road project funding),” Lowrey said. “That corridor study the county participated in has really come back to pay dividends.”

The Flush Road project — scheduled for inclusion in KDOT’s 2014 fiscal year — is to include a left-turn lane southbound off of U.S. 24, an additional northbound lane on Flush Road and an acceleration lane for southbound traffic on Flush Road turning west onto U.S. 24.

Under the corridor development program, the state pays for actual construction costs, while the county is responsible for the cost of design, right-of-way purchase and utility relocation, Lowrey said, estimating the construction cost of the project at more than one-half million dollars.

The Flush Road intersection — with limited sight distance to the east — has been the site of several fatality accidents in recent years. Following a public safety meeting last year, KDOT reduced the speed limit from 70 to 65 miles per hour between Wamego and Manhattan, and further reduced the speed limit near the intersection to 60 miles per hour.

If KDOT also approves the proposed Green Valley Road intersection project, improvements would include an additional turn lane, essentially turning the intersection into a five-lane roadway to improve flow during peak traffic periods.

In other business Monday:

• Tim Eisenbarth, noxious weed director, gave his annual report to the commission.

Approximately 55,000 acres were sprayed for noxious weeds in 2011 — about 10 percent of the total acreage of the county, Eisenbarth said.

His department also made headway in controlling sericea lespedeza, an aggressive, drought-hardy perennial found in native rangeland.

“I think we’ve persisted,” Eisenbarth said. “We’ve sprayed more acres and we’ve got more landowners to spray their pastures.”

• Scott Schwinn, county sanitarian, said the annual free day at the Pott County Landfill has been scheduled for Saturday, April 7.

• In his monthly update, Gregg Webster, zoning administrator, reported issuing 12 building permits in January, with a total value of $733,000.

There were seven permits valued at $1,166,500 issued in January of 2010, but $1 million of that total was for a single building at Jeffrey Energy Center, Webster said.

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