Olathe Completes Final Connection Point on College Boulevard to Support Ongoing GrowthPosted on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 by Mike McKenna
In Transportation Engineering, tagged in
More than 10 years ago, the City of Olathe began the process of widening a one-mile stretch of College Boulevard between Lone Elm Road and Woodland Avenue. They started work on what would ultimately be a 4-lane roadway by constructing 2 lanes on the land that is now the westbound lanes. Throughout the last ten years, those lanes have served as the roadway for both directions of traffic. However, as traffic volumes and projected growth patterns have increased, the city began planning for the full build out of the entire 4-lane roadway system.
In 2015, Affinis was selected to design the full 4-lane build out with construction completed in June 2017. The goal was to establish a 4-lane, median-divided road that would improve traffic flow, but could be built with minimal impact to the adjacent resident’s front yards, ponds and trees. Our team led the design for the entire project including the driveway entrances, storm sewer improvements, reinforced box culvert extensions, and street lighting. We also provided all design surveys and performed all property descriptions for right-of-way and easement acquisition.
For this project, we held traditional public meetings, one during design and another before construction began. We also met with Olathe Northwest High School (ONWHS) and the city to discuss solutions for their entrances off of College. At the entrance to ONWHS, we added a right turn lane to alleviate traffic issues they had been experiencing. We also worked with the school to discuss removing the full turning access from one of their driveways. Due to the driveway’s close proximity to the Lone Elm intersection, removal of the left turn in and out at this location made for a safer roadway. Getting the school’s agreement to this plan was key to having this stakeholder be a proponent of the project.
During construction, we maintained access for area homeowners. To improve safety through the corridor, homes with driveways along the road lost their ability to turn left into and out of their driveway. Explaining to these property owners U-turns would be legal at the median openings of the adjacent school and subdivisions helped these residents understand they wouldn’t have a substantially longer drive to get to their house.
Another homeowner’s existing pond was a major concern. We met with the homeowner and city and offered solutions and options. In the end, we designed a solution that reduced median width and shifted the sidewalk closer to the road in order to avoid the pond. Another significant concern for the property owner was to make sure the storm sewer improvements did not divert too much water away from their pond leading it to dry up. Our design sends the same amount of water to this pond as it was receiving before construction.
The winery near Woodland was another important stakeholder. In order to add a new right-turn lane at Woodland, we needed to acquire some land from the winery. The city met with them to discuss the plans, and we worked with the winery to make sure we weren’t obstructing their driveway and would be careful to remove and replace their entrance sign. It was important to keep access open for visitors.
Prior to the completion of this project, this mile of College Boulevard was the only one between K-7 and State Line Road that wasn’t a 4-lane divided thoroughfare. By constructing this, we were able to help the city complete the final connection point, moving the community forward towards continued growth.