Johnson County allocates 2020 funding for collaborative road and stormwater projects

Two Johnson County programs will fund more than $35.3 million in improvements to local roadways and stormwater systems in 2020. Today, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners approved the County Assistance Road System (CARS) Program and the Stormwater Management Program (SMP) for the upcoming year. Both programs were authorized in separate unanimous votes by the board.

“These two programs are strong examples of county and city collaboration, utilizing joint funding to improve the major roads in Johnson County and maximize flood control efforts, which benefits all county residents,” said Chairman Ed Eilert, Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. “We appreciate the committees for both programs, made up of county and city representatives who together evaluate proposed projects and make recommendations to our Board for approval.”

Since 1983, the CARS program has annually provided funding to improve major roads and streets throughout Johnson County. The program has allocated almost $18.5 million in 2020 for 20 projects in 13 cities.

The program expenditures include $825,000 as one-half of the local share funding for the Kansas Department of Transportation improvements to I-35 at 75th Street. The remaining local share for the project will be allocated in the 2021 CARS program expenditures.

Four CARS projects are in Overland Park, two each in Olathe and Lenexa, and one each in Edgerton, Fairway, Gardner, Leawood, Merriam, Mission, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Shawnee and Westwood. Improvements to Nall Avenue from 83rd to 95th streets span Overland Park and Prairie Village.

The 2020 CARS program has earmarked:

  • $1 million for construction of the 207th Street overpass for the BNSF Railroad in Edgerton;
  • $1.2 million to improve Lee Boulevard from 83rd to 95th streets in Leawood;
  • $2.5 million to widen Lone Elm Road from two to four lanes from Old Highway 56 to 151st Street in Olathe;
  • $3.9 million for the continued construction of Quivira Road from 159th to 179th streets;
  • $1.6 million to improve Roe Boulevard from the county line to Johnson Drive in Roeland Park; and,
  • $1.3 million in construction of Pflumm Road from Midland Drive to Shawnee’s south city limits.

The CARS program was established to construct, maintain and improve local major transportation corridors in partnership with the cities. Each year, cities submit a five-year road improvement plan to Johnson County Government. Using a scoring system, the county annually selects projects and allocates funds, paying up to 50 percent of the project’s construction and construction inspection costs. Cities are responsible for ancillary costs such as design, right-of-way and utility relocation.

The 2020 Stormwater Management Program (SMP) is funding more than $16.8 million, including $5.25 million for assessment and replacement of stormwater system components (inlets and pipes) and almost $8.5 million for seven capital projects to reduce flood risks in the cities of Overland Park (three projects), Olathe (two projects), and Shawnee and Leawood (one project each). Capital project funding ranges from slightly more than $3.1 million to $324,750.

The plan also provides funding for maintenance of the county’s stream and rain gauge network, maintenance of the countywide flood-warning system, support to the cities for compliance with state/federal water quality regulations, and funding of studies identified by cities and other stormwater activities and projects.

The SMP annually provides funding for stormwater improvements and capital projects in Johnson County in partnership with the cities. The program also cooperates with other cities in the Kansas City region as part of the regional stormwater system.

The program is funded by a 1/10-cent sales tax authorized by the Kansas Legislature in 1988 and approved by the Board of County Commissioners for the purpose of funding stormwater projects. Johnson County was the only county to implement the tax. These funds, dedicated to stormwater management, allow the county to create an annual stormwater management plan and provide 75 percent of funding for eligible design and construction projects in the county and cities in Johnson County.

The board created the Stormwater Management Program and the Stormwater Management Advisory Council in the early 1990s. The council helps coordinate stormwater efforts and advises the board on stormwater management-related issues.

Both the CARS and Stormwater Management programs are managed by the Johnson County Department of Public Works.

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