The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 12, 2013

Local officials urge better access for Southeast Kansas road plan

GALENA, Kan. — Citing concerns about future economic development in Cherokee County, Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby and Quapaw Tribe Transportation Consultant Alan Mauk met last week with Kansas officials to question plans for a proposed stretch of four-lane freeway.

The six-mile section, which is part of a regional corridor project to extend U.S. Highway 69 south to Interstate 44, is proposed as a four-lane freeway from the junction of U.S. 166 to Kansas Highway 26 south and east to the Kansas-Missouri state line. It is directly north of the northeastern corner of Oklahoma.

KDOT officials released a rough draft of the freeway with the public last fall. They plan to refine the design following engineering studies, traffic counts and input from local officials.

While the entire Southeast Kansas corridor project has been endorsed by many regional entities, from the Labette County Commission to Pittsburg State University to local chambers of commerce, there is one aspect of the six-mile section’s design that Oglesby and Mauk said they found challenging: A freeway allows access at interchanges only.

“We looked at it from the perspective of future development along the 166-400 corridor and noticed that there was a lack of access provided for future growth from the state line to just south of Four Corners,” Mauk said.

Oglesby said such limited access could have a negative effect.

“Our goal is to develop the area there. But the way the freeway would be, it would put people in a tunnel and shoot them over to Missouri. It would render economic development null and void,” he said.

A study of a similar project that took U.S. 400 north of Parsons showed that the highway had a $42 million impact on the economy through property taxes from new development, new business income and new jobs.

Oglesby said he favors a four-lane or five-lane highway, not a divided freeway, to allow developers to “set up shop.”

On Tuesday, he and Mauk outlined their concerns to Kan. Gov. Sam Brownback in Topeka, who arranged for them to meet in Pittsburg on Wednesday with Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Mike King. Neither meeting was open to the media, but King issued a statement in response to a Globe request for an interview.

“I appreciate our discussion with Mayor Oglesby and Alan Mauk on Wednesday. KDOT will take their concerns into consideration as we move forward with the U.S. 166 expansion project in Cherokee County.”

Said Oglesby, after discussing his concerns with King and KDOT engineers: “We got assurances that they would consider improving access on the south end of the county.”

Mauk emphasized that KDOT has gone to great lengths to gain input from everyone on the plan. For two years, KDOT has worked with the Quapaw Tribe, Cherokee, Crawford and Labette counties, the cities of Baxter Springs, Columbus, Galena and Parsons, and a range of stakeholders to develop projects for the program.

“We really were pleased with his, first of all, meeting with us the next day, and then expressing his opinion that this was just a draft,” Mauk said of King. “He promised to look at it, work with us, to address our concerns.”

“It wasn’t like it was drawn in stone. It is a preliminary stab at coming up with a route that will then be further developed,” he said.

Project funding

The project is to be funded through T-Works, Kansas’ 10-year, $8 billion transportation program. The scheduled start date for the section is September 2017. Including design and right-of-way acquisition, the Cherokee County portion of the project will cost $45 million.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read


Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter