LETTER: New highway will reduce farmland

This is a letter regarding the planned complete new construction of six miles of K3l east of Osage City to Highway 75. Some drivers consider that the present highway is not good because they cannot pass other vehicles that are not going fast enough to suit them. Drivers should consider that even if they could pass as wanted, it is, just a six-mile distance, and even if they could go 80 miles per hour, they would not gain over two minutes to reach. Osage. Will it be worth it to lose 300 feet of all land on the south side of the old highway? This 300 feet off of my 160 acres pasture and brome field will cause me to cut my cow herd in half (instead of 20 head of cows, there will be 10 head). What will the crop farmers lose?

KDOT takes none of this into consideration. One of the Republican contenders said "freedom is not free; you have to fight every day. That is certainly true. When decisions are made that cause a shortage of funds for Kansas, we pay with a raise in taxes. In this instance, we are losing farmland, pastures and hay fields; and saddest of all, we are losing two homesteads with houses, and probably at least two more that will be able to step out their front door and on to the "new" highway, or cutting their homestead in two.

The writing of Dr. Paul Brand is partially quoted for information. His pamphlet is entitled "All Creation Sings." The booklet was excerpted from "He Satisfies My Soul; A Celebration of God's creative gifts for the body, mind and spirit. Quoting a paragraph of this publication, "In a physical sense there is a choice that has to be made in the use of the land. It may be used as a farm to grow feed or it may become a road and be paved for buildings and travel. The priorities of a community are revealed by the choices it makes. Today in America, prime farmland is being paved on to make way for roads and cities at a record rate. Nearly 3,000 acres of farmland are converted to development purposes each day." My brother, who sent the pamphlet to me, is shocked that KDOT is determined to build a complete new highway. KDOT indicated that id shoulders were put on the old highway they would have to completely close the road for two years. Normally, during road construction they close only one lane at a time. Why would they close both lanes this time? The threat that they would close both lanes and force people to detour ensured they would encourage people to want a new highway.

A new highway is a boost for the construction company. (A cost of $26.1 million as opposed to $14 million). Is this new road supposed to be a benefit or Osage City, or a benefit for the construction company? Highway 59 north of Garnett is now being moved back where it was some years ago. Will KDOT be moving K31 back to its original position in a few years? This certainly keeps the construction company going. We are a farming community. If the paving continues in this manner, at some point there will be no farmland, and there will be a shortage of food.

Sylvia M. Riepen
Osage City

The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

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