By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
ARMA, Kan. —
Only one city councilman turned out Tuesday afternoon during an open house for local leaders to view plans for an upcoming U.S. Highway 69 expansion, but the turnout was better at an open house for Tuesday night, with more than 100 in attendance.
The Kansas Department of Transportation planned both open houses, held at Northeast High School, to share information and gather feedback on its funded proposal to build a four-lane upgradable expressway between Fort Scott and Arma. They also laid out plans for an unfunded project to build a six-mile, four-lane expressway known as the “Arma Connection” around Arma.
“Our goal is to get this before the public because they may provide comments that ultimately alter the way we think about the plan,” said James Dietzel, a KDOT road design leader assigned to the project.
Buddy Bualle, an Arma city councilman, said he was fully supportive of the Arma Connection as it was presented, because he believes it will make for a safer bypass.
“It certainly will help with people who commute to work in Fort Scott and Pittsburg,” he said. “Almost everyone here works out of town, and they use that bypass a lot.”
According to Paul Moore, a consulting engineer, the intersection at 640th Avenue (also called South Street in Arma), is one of the most accident-prone places on the stretch of highway.