KDOT had a couple of public open houses regarding the future of US 56 between US 59 west of Baldwin and I-35 in Gardner.
- Outside of the towns along the route, US 56 is expected to remain two lanes. Most of the proposed improvements involved consolidating access points and improving the vertical profile of the roadway. Between US 59 and Baldwin, KDOT is wanting to have a 250' right-of-way, however, it is made clear that this would NOT be to provide for additional lanes.
- In Baldwin and Edgerton, the roadway would be widened to 3 lanes (with a center turn lane) and intersections rebuilt so that cross-streets are mainly at a 90-degree angle. A 1/2 mile +/- segment on the east side of Baldwin is projected to be improved to 4 lanes divided - mainly to accommodate proposed industrial development on the north side of the highway. Also, the intersections with 199th Street and Sunflower Road will be replaced with a grade-separated crossing. 199th (E/W) and Sunflower Road (N/S) would be joined with a curve that would cross over both US 56 and the BNSF railroad. A ramp would connect EB US 56, cross the BNSF, and merge with EB 199th. A access road connecting the two roads would be at the northeast side of the intersection.
- Between Edgerton and Gardner, three existing cross intersections... 183rd, Four Corners Road, and 191st, would be turned into T-intersections, with the roadways curving to meet US 56 at a right-angle. The roadways would be abandoned south and east of US 56 to accommodate the new Intermodal facility, and to eliminate the crossings over the existing BNSF main.
- On the West side of Gardner, US 56 currently merges into 175th Street near Waverly Street. A traffic study; however, suggested that the primary through movements would be along 175th and on Waverly, and that traffic leaving Gardner on US 56 would be minor by comparison. Two Ideas are suggested. The first would have US 56 ending at a 3-leg roundabout at Warren Street, then turning straight north to 175th. US 56 traffic would have to turn south on the new roadway or on Waverly. The Second Option would be to have 175th turn southeast to meet US 56 at a right angle, which would then continue east as Warren. Waverly would also be re-aligned to meet US 56 at grade. This would mean that thru traffic for 175th -- the primary movement through this intersection -- would be turning.
- Between Moonlight Road and I-35, future traffic patterns suggest that 6 lanes will be necessary. The current bridge over New Century Parkway currently has 5 12-foot lanes, a 8 and 10 foot shoulders. KDOT suggests that this bridge could accommodate 6 lanes by re-striping the lanes to 11 feet, narrowing the shoulders to 2 feet, plus adding a 8 foot median with a Jersey Barrier. The bridge over old US 56 and the BNSF could not be retrofitted this way; however, the new bridge would likely be built with the same configuration.
- Interestingly, KDOT does not predict that this road will see an ungodly amount of truck traffic. Most of the cooridor has an anticipated truck volume of 500-1,000 trucks per day or less. The Mid-America Regional council defines this traffic level as "local" service. Parts of 56 near I-35 would go past the 1,000 mark, into the "Regional" category.