Commissioners briefed on outer loop study

Leavenworth County commissioners were briefed Wednesday on a study that is looking at a possible outer loop highway for the Kansas City area.

If constructed as proposed, a portion of the highway would cross into Leavenworth County. In fact, the northern portion of the route reviewed with commissioners ends near Fort Leavenworth.

Commissioners met Wednesday with representatives of the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Turnpike Authority, Mid-America Regional Council and HNTB Corporation, which is working on the study.

The discussion came during a County Commission work session.

Cameron McGown, associate vice president for HNTB, acknowledged the idea of an outer loop beltway has been considered in the past.

“This isn’t the first time it’s been looked at,” he said.

The four-lane divided freeway, as proposed in the study, would connect with U.S. 73-Kansas 7 Highway at its north end and stretch south on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area, eventually turning east and crossing into Missouri. The south side of the highway would end at Interstate 49 in Missouri.

The estimated cost of the outer loop highway is $3.392 billion. McGown said the road likely would have to be constructed in segments.