Be forewarned: It's a safe bet to say your ordinary drive along Highway 69 near the new Kansas Crossing Casino will soon have a few, but big changes.
"12 to 14 thousand vehicles a day," says KDOT Engineer George Dockery.
...that's how many vehicles go by the new casino right now.
Come March, when the casino opens, KDOT says there will be an additional 3,300 vehicles a day going to the casino. All the numbers point to more than 17,000 vehicles a day on this stretch of two-lane Highway 69.
"If you get a two-lane road that gets eight thousand, we would start looking about possibly, if funds are available, adding lanes," says Dockery.
But state funds aren't available to double-up the lanes in this area, so there will be some alternative changes. First up, new stoplights at the intersection of Highways 69, 400, and 171, about a little more than a quarter mile away from the new casino's entrance. KDOT engineers say they usually prefer roundabouts. But in this case, two traffic controls are needed: One at the 69, 400, and 171 intersection, and another at the casino entrance.
"Traffic signals at both locations seemed to be the most feasible option," says Dockery.
"As far as I'm concerned, they need to leave it alone. It's a four-way stop. It has been that way for years," says John Gagliardo.
Gagliardo is a nearby resident to the casino, and says he's thrilled about the new entertainment venue, but also says the new stoplights will be a waste.
"I don't think it's going to help the traffic down through here," says Gagliardo.
A new northbound left turn lane will almost begin at the 69, 400, and 171 intersection and end at the casino entrance. But no left turns will be allowed from Langdon Lane (a road connecting to Highway 69 almost at the new casino's entrance), because KDOT says left turns out of this road would interfere with vehicles turning left into the casino.
By now, you're probably thinking to yourself, and placing bets on, how much safety will come from these changes. But KDOT says the improvements are based off months of analysis from about 12 different KDOT departments.
"We felt like we finally came up with a solution that can be workable for everybody, and still maintain safety," says Dockery.
KDOT says the new traffic signals at the 69, 171, and 400 intersection will be installed this spring. But before that, Kansas Crossing will install a temporary traffic signal at their entrance. That temporary signal will be up and running sometime before the casino opens in March.
The total cost of this project is $2 million to $2.5 million, with KDOT paying about $500,000 of that cost, and Kansas Crossing paying the rest.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas