A new interchange at Interstate 35 and Homestead Lane is one step closer to reality.
Officials from the city of Edgerton, Johnson County and Kansas Department of Transportation gathered at the site of the future diverging diamond interchange to break ground on the project.
The interchange will primarily serve the BNSF intermodal logistics park when it opens in late 2013.
“This interchange will help open the doors for Edgerton, making our community a true crossroads of opportunity,” Mayor Don Roberts said. “We are excited to be part of the bright future of Kansas.”
Roberts also noted irony in the fact that “a town with no stop lights will soon become home of the world’s largest intermodal facility and logistics park.”
Construction on the $33 million interchange will begin in the spring.
Bill Clarkson, owner of Clarkson Construction, contractor for the interchange, said the project will employ 50 to 100 construction workers.
“They will be on the job five or six days a week making a decent living,” he said.
Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Commission, called the groundbreaking “a very significant occasion” for Johnson County, the Kansas City metro area, and the entire state of Kansas.
The project is expected to generate a $600 million regional economic impact according to KDOT.
“They say the light at the end of the tunnel may be a train coming at you,” Eilert joked. “I say, ‘It’s about time!’ “We’re ready!”
The intermodal logistics park is expected to generate more than 17,000 vehicle trips including 7,000 tractor-trailers at build-out.
Barb Rankin, acting secretary of transportation for KDOT, said the interchange’s diverging diamond will be the first of its kind in Kansas.
A diverging diamond interchange diverts traffic to the opposite side of the road to reduce the number of turning contact points for high volume traffic.
“It is driving on the wrong side of the road but in a safe way,” Rankin said. “It will allow for smooth movement of a lot of traffic.”
Roberts said the interchange was the “first important milestone marking progress for the city and the state.
He said it will play a “pivotal economic role” in Edgerton’s future.
“The residents of Edgerton are ready to embrace the development and growth that will take place,” Roberts said.