Congestion and increased truck traffic causes many drivers to complain about the intersection at I-35 and Gardner Rd.
With a bridge deck originally constructed in 1959 when Gardner’s population was about 1600, today, Gardner’s population today teeters at 20,000, and the Edgerton intermodal’s growth has brought traffic at that interchange to about 500 exiting I-35 per day.
When shifts change at the intermodal businesses, cars often stack up. “No truck” signs are regularly ignored, and the road is in disrepair.
Gardner’s mayor travelled to Topeka hoping to bring back money, but in actuality with KDOT’s depleted funds there probably won’t be money available for a new overpass until about 2020.
In the meantime, cars and trucks back up; tempers flare; and officials bicker over blame and possible solutions, including closing 191st.
The Gardner Rd. interchange does offer some unique problems:
– 191st St intersections are very close to the ramps both north and south of the interchange
• Peak traffic generated by the intermodal and Logistics Park.
• Lack of funding for the bridge replacement and 191st street improvements.
• Lack of additional right-of-way.
• Lack of pedestrian access.
• Continued rapid growth of traffic impacting the level of service.
• Schools and businesses located in close proximity to the interchange construction. as they stop and proceed onto I-35.
There’s been a lot of discussion regarding the traffic – for at least the last four years – but not much action has taken place. Gardner is scheduled to make improvements in 2019.
While we’re not traffic engineers, we don’t understand Gardner council’s inability to fix the molehill rather than always discussing how to climb a mountain. Or – more appropriately – you can fill the potholes, stripe the lanes, paint a turn lane and install signage as a temporary solution.
We see the county do it all the time – most recently at 56Hwy and 159th when they rerouted the road several times to make improvements to the intersection.
There’s something to be said for “git ‘er done.”