Creative Solutions to Alleviate Traffic for Major Event Area
The K-7 and I-70 interchanges lead directly to a heavily trafficked area, facilitating freight movement north and south along K-7. With the Azura Amphitheater and Kansas City Speedway sitting less than four miles away from each other, the event traffic frequently would backup onto I-70 posing a safety concern for KDOT.
The original issue centered around the congestion that occurred during events which led to a large traffic bottleneck notably around Canaan Drive. Addressing this bottleneck became crucial, requiring the modification of the existing interchange configuration to one that could accommodate current and future traffic growth.
The K-7/I-70 highway expansion project involved infrastructure enhancements that included the addition of lanes, bridges and ramps, aimed at easing traffic congestion and improving the flow at critical junctions. The project was executed in multiple phases:
- Phase 1: Construct the west half of the new K-7 and I-70 Interchange by incorporating the southwest and northwest loop ramps. Introduced a new traffic signal at the K-7 and Speaker Road intersection while eliminating the overpass and current I-70 ramps in the southeast quadrant of the current interchange.
- Phases 2A and 2B: Further bridge construction was needed including the replacement of the Riverview Avenue Bridge over I-70 and replacing the existing 118th Street bridge over I-70. These replacements allowed for the six-lane and future collector-distributor road expansion.
- Phase 3: Expanding I-70 to six lanes between K-7 and 110th
Coordination proved to be a major opportunity, as this project involved three different municipalities, coordination with Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, KDOT and the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA). The intersection of K-7 and I-70 also has many local businesses that were affected by the construction. Managing these relationships while also engaging with the public were additional complexities that needed careful navigation. Public involvement sessions were held throughout the multi-year design phase, and additionally during early phases of construction.
The project marked several milestones, notably introducing the state’s first dual-lane loop ramp. Additionally, it represented the largest design project GBA had undertaken to date.
Plans for the construction of the remaining phases are currently on hold until funding becomes available.