Heights board skeptical about U.S. 75 expansion plan

Not everyone is excited about plans to widen U.S. Highway 75 to four lanes between Holton’s north city limits and Kansas Highway 20 in Brown County, as comments heard about the highway expansion plans during Monday’s Jackson Heights USD 335 Board of Education meeting attested.

“No one is going to be more impacted by this than us, because Holton to K-20 is all our district,” Jackson Heights Superintendent Jim Howard said of the expansion plan, which was announced Thursday, March 7 by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly.

The plan to expand that section of U.S. 75 to a four-lane expressway was one of three highway projects in northeastern Kansas that will receive infrastructure investment funds totaling $186 million, it was announced. That section of U.S. 75 was deemed a “high priority” by the Kansas Department of Transportation following public online discussions hosted by KDOT last October.

Members of the Jackson Heights school board voiced skepticism that widening that section of U.S. 75 to four lanes would actually make it safer, however.

“We have multiple access points where we have young drivers getting onto the highway,” board member David Holliday said. “We have to advocate for safety on this road.”

Board member Kallie Kirk agreed, saying that turning that section of U.S. 75 into a four-lane expressway might make it more difficult for students who drive to pull onto the highway.

“I’d rather pull out into a two-lane than a four-lane,” Kirk said.

Even with the recent installation of passing lanes on U.S. 75 between the school’s entrance at 266th Road and the intersection with Kansas Highway 9 near Netawaka, the highway has become even more dangerous, according to board member Doug Amon, who suggested that if KDOT plans to widen the highway to four lanes, an overpass should be installed at the school’s entrance.

For more on this and other articles, please log in to your holtonrecorder.net account and select “March 13, 2024” under “E-Editions.”

The Holton Recorder

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

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