Make it a gravel road, if you must

It’s disappointing that a road project spanning about less than a quarter mile, that seemed to have a lot of support in the community, was so quickly scrapped by the Holton City Commission recently.

A road to connect Gilliland Drive, located west of Holton Community Hospital, with the Holton Industrial Park road was proposed in recent months as a traffic safety project that would provide hospital customers – especially elderly ones - with an alternative road route to and from the hospital other than the exit along U.S. Highway 75.

The road to connect Gilliland Drive to the Holton Industrial Park was also proposed to decrease the amount of truck traffic exiting the highway at the hospital exit. This again was a traffic safety project that would give business truck traffic an alternate road route to and from the hospital, if they wanted it.

City, county and hospital officials, in their discussions about the possible new road mentioned the October 2015 mishap at the U.S. 75 and hospital exit (Columbine Drive) that involved a United Parcel Services semitrailer.

Local officials have asked Kansas Department of Transportation officials to lower the highway speed limit at the Highway-Columbine exit.

That request has been denied.

Local officials has also asked KDOT officials to widen the turn lane at the Highway-Columbine exit.

That request has been denied.

Last month city, county and hospital officials all met to tour the site where the proposed new road could be built.

At the April 4 city commission meeting, the new road was mentioned as a possible capital improvement project for the city along with paving the parking lots at Chandler Park and Countryside Park.

Not long after that, it was announced by city officials that the new concrete road along with curb and guttering could cost in the range of $229,151.85.

At the next city commission meeting, one city commissioner reported that he had heard enough complaints about the proposed new road that he couldn’t support its construction this year.

Another city commissioner stated that the proposed cost of the project seemed too high.

Still another city commissioner stated that the new road may not be used enough to warrant its cost.

The need for this short connecting road between Gilliland Road and the Holton Industrial Park road still exists.

It’s understandable that it may take some long-term financial planning for the city (with the county’s financial help possibly) to pay for the concrete road with curb and guttering that should be built.

But can’t we as a community build that connecting road with a nice gravel surface (and a slow speed limit) to serve those elderly residents who are not so keen on navigating highway turn lanes and exits?

This connecting road is a good idea. It’s been a good idea and it’s going to continue to be a good idea. If it prevents one accident, it will be well worth it.

If you feel the same way, contact your city commissioners and let them know.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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