Proposal developed to alter major intersection, surrounding area

By Bryan Richardson

Rumored changes to the K-18 and K-113 interchange have some business owners concerned about the potential for adverse impact on those businesses.

The concern appears to focus on the intersection of Fort Riley Boulevard and Richards Drive, close to a larger intersection of Fort Riley Boulevard (K-18) and Seth Child Road (K-113). City officials have scheduled an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at Sunset Zoo to discuss the state of that interchange, and examine a proposed alternative. A formal 30-minute project presentation from representatives of Alfred Benesch and Company, a firm that has been developing plans for the area, will begin at 7 p.m.

Owners of some businesses in the vicinity expressed concerns Thursday about reports that one proposal may involve removing the stoplight at Fort Riley Boulevard and Richards Drive and not allowing vehicles to cross over at the intersection.

Neither city officials nor those at Benesch returned calls seeking clarification regarding the details of the proposal. But Terry Olson, owner of Eastside and Westside Markets, said the idea of prohibiting turns from eastbound traffic on Fort Riley Boulevard into businesses north of the Richards Drive intersection took her by surprise. She said she didn’t think a meeting about the K-18 and K-113 interchange could impact that intersection.

Olson said officials for businesses on both sides of the intersection – Westside Market, Clarion Hotel, Little Apple Lanes, Briggs Auto and Shop Quik gas station – have concerns about the ramifications of such a proposal. Those concerns included the idea that a motorist leaving the Clarion Hotel and wanting to head downtown would being forced to go onto Seth Child, or that someone would be unable to go from the gas station to Briggs and vice versa.

“For a business like the market and the gas station, the only way to access us is if a person happened to be westbound,” Olson said. “For Briggs, it would be accessed only if a person is going eastbound.”

Olson said the businesses have been there a long time and helped with the efforts to produce a protected left turn during the 1980s.“Once we got wind that one of the possibilities was restricted access, we developed our position,” she said. Olson predicted “a spike in business owners at the meeting.”

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