Blue Township resident lobbies Pottawatomie County for better roads to accommodate growth

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Blue Township resident Judson Jones used to live in a remote section of Pottawatomie County at the northeast corner of the Green Valley Road/Junietta Road intersection.

But today, his home at 8801 Junietta Road is surrounded by housing developments. Junietta Road is now paved east to where the road curves north and becomes Moody Road. Jones says as the area becomes more developed, the township lacks an adequate road system to handle the additional traffic.

“I’ve had seven accidents in front of my house that I’ve turned into the Sheriff’s department and said somebody hit my house again today, somebody hit my house again today, somebody hit my house again today,” he said. “I’m here to beg that you consider this piece of road a prime piece of road network,” he said.

Jones was referring to Excel Road, which the county recently acquired right-of-way to extend to Junietta, along the new school’s east side, according to commissioner Pat Weixelman.

“We just spent a quarter million dollars to purchase the right-away through that area. That shows you kind of where the prioritization is going,” he said.

The county has prioritized the area as a critical route to alleviate congestion from Green Valley Road to Hwy 24. USD 383 Manhattan/Ogden Schools currently owns 50 acres northeast of the new school site, along Mt. Zion Road, which could be developed in the future for a secondary school. There are no plans for the property at this time.

During his half hour pitch to commissioners, Jones also lobbied to continue to press Riley County for a potential north bridge over the Big Blue River, connecting Junietta Road to Marlatt Ave.

“Without a good road network, we will suffer in Pottawatomie County more than they will,” he said.

Currently, the only primary north-south route connecting Highway 24 to Junietta Road is via the well-traveled Green Valley Road. Jones says it’s a problem that must be addressed before the area becomes even more congested.

“You don’t see this on a regular basis and I suppose there are probably other people in this county that are coming to you saying (the same thing). I’m your eyes and ears out there guys. I’m not a dumb man and I pay attention to the things that are causing people hardship,” he said.

Jones has lived in Blue Township for 40 years, but worries a lack of planning is hurting efforts. He said Monday he’d favor benefit districts or charging developers to be tasked with road improvements as development continues.

The commission took no action following Jones’ presentation.

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Brandon Peoples

KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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