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Four decades and $15.8 million later, phase 1 of the Kansas Expressway Extension is set to be finished fall 2023

The Kansas Expressway extension project site is seen on Feb. 13, 2023 .
Gregory Holman/KSMU
The Kansas Expressway extension project site is seen on Feb. 13, 2023. Phase 1 of the $30 million project, which includes this area just south of Republic Road southwards to Plainview Road, is expected to be completed in fall of 2023.

The Kansas Expressway extension from south Springfield into Greene County has been under construction since late 2021. KSMU recently talked with the head of the Greene County Highway Department for an update on the project.

Way back in 1976, Springfield voters opted to extend Kansas Expressway all the way to Republic Road. It wasn’t too many years later that planning began on extending it even farther — southwards into Greene County.

Adam Humphrey is interim head of the Greene County Highway Department. He says that for a long time, leaders in Springfield and Greene County recognized that car traffic needed to flow north-south on two big corridors: Campbell Avenue and Farm Road 141. But on their own, they weren’t enough for the flood of cars.

“Both of those roads are really running with traffic volumes at a greater level than what had originally been intended,” Humphrey says.

As the Kansas Expressway extension begins to take shape in Phase 1 — from Republic Road to Plainview — it’s going to start out as a two-lane road with a 10-foot-wide pedestrian path alongside. Construction is expected to be finished in the fall of this year, at a cost of $15.8 million.

Kansas Expressway Extension Phase 1 Graphic: Republic Road to Plainview Road
Courtesy Greene County
This Greene County map graphic released in Dec. 2021 shows Phase 1 of the Kansas Expressway Extension, expected to be finished in fall 2023.

But Humphrey says eventually, they expect the new road will need to be a full four-lane expressway.

"Based on the traffic model," he said, "it suggests that the two lanes should be sufficient for maybe as much as 20 years into the future, before we might look at adding the additional lanes. You know, obviously trying to predict driver behavior and where traffic's going to move to, as you build a brand-new facility, it's not a precise science.”

Phase 2 of the project runs from Plainview Road to the Greene County border. Humphrey says county government will likely bid out that project for about $10 million and start building it immediately after phase 1 is complete.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs.