The Kansas Department of Transportation will have a pair of meetings on Thursday to help shape the future of U.S. Highway 69 in Southeast Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Transportation will have a pair of meetings on Thursday to help shape the future of U.S. Highway 69 in Southeast Kansas.

The first meeting is scheduled for 1:30-3 p.m. at the Franklin Community Center in Franklin to focus on what has been deemed the Arma Connection.

In the 10-year T-WORKS transportation plan, U.S. 69 from Fort Scott to north of Arma will be expanded to a four-lane upgradeable expressway.  
The Arma Connection is the six-mile section of existing U.S. 69 from the end of that project north of Arma to the intersection with Kansas Highway 47 that is not currently in a program for expansion, but is getting a second look by KDOT officials.

The discussion on Thursday will focus on “whether to leave the two-lane section as it is, or consider expanding it to four lanes.” There are two options even within that, between creating a median or simply creating a five-lane road, with the middle lane as a left-hand turn lane.

This meeting is not necessarily a public information open house, though members of the public who wish to hear the discussion are welcome to attend. The discussion, however, will be chiefly among Bourbon and Crawford county stakeholders.

The other meeting on Thursday will be at the Fort Scott City Hall from 4-6 p.m. ad will be an open house.

This meeting will focus on some of the intersection improvements scheduled for Fort Scott along U.S. 69.

Those intersection improvements are primarily twofold:

1) adding raised medians on the approaches to 23rd Street along U.S. 69. This will limit access to right-in/right-out movements. The 23rd Street intersection would also be widened for a separate left-turn lane.

2) discuss a reconstruction of National Street from south of 18th Street to the intersection with U.S. 69. Plans call for widening U.S. 69 at 18th Street for a northbound left-turn lane.

In other news announced by KDOT on Tuesday, KDOT Secretary Deb Miller announced she would step down by the end of the year to take a position with Cambridge Systematics, a national transportation and policy firm.

Miller said that she is “leaving the best job I’ve ever had at an agency that I love” and said this was the right time for a move.

“While there is never a perfect time to make this kind of transition, this feels like the right time,” she said. “One of the reasons I stayed on after the election was to get T-WORKS launched. I feel good about getting that done and appreciate very much Gov. Brownback giving me the opportunity. Working at KDOT, on behalf of the citizens of Kansas has been more than a job to me, it has been a labor of love.”

Her last day with KDOT will be Dec. 16.

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 140.