The Commerce Parkway Interchange is one of three interchanges connecting Hays to Interstate 70 (I-70), which is Kansas's most important east-west travel route.
Project Type:Interchange Project Mode:Highway Average Annual Daily Traffic:1,701 Length (mi):0.00
Economic Distress:1.31 Population Density (ppl/sq mi):30 Population Growth Rate (%):2.17
Employment Growth Rate (%):1.56 Market Size:203,159 Airport Travel Distance:35.1403 Topography:4
Region:Great Lakes / Plains State:KS County:County
City:Hays, KS Urban/Class Level:Metro Local Area:N/A
Impact Area:County Transportation System:N/A GIS Lat/Long:38.881999 / -99.280478
Initial Study Date:N/A Post Constr. Study Date:2008
Constr. Start Date:1994 Constr. End Date:1995
Project Year of Expenditure (YOE): N/A Planned Cost (YOE $):N/A
Actual Cost (YOE $):3,350,000 Actual Cost (curr $):4,732,710
NOTE: All pre/post dollar values are in 2013$
Select a region to display the conditions for that region:
NOTE: All impact dollar values are in 2013$
|Income (in $M's)||21028500.00||14193300.00||35221800.00|
|Output (in $M's)||59984500.00||40486900.00||100471400.00|
The Commerce Parkway Interchange is one of three interchanges connecting Hays to Interstate 70 (I-70), which is Kansas's most important east-west travel route. After the parkway interchange was completed in 1995, its location prompted the development of the Airport Industrial Park. The construction was supported by a strong coalition of local business leaders and banks with the intention of improving access to developable land slated for industrial and residential development. Over the last ten years, the Commerce Parkway has stimulated the growth of Hays' economy, adding an estimated 745 jobs from 1995 to 2006. Additionally, an arterial route has been built to connect downtown Hays with the Commerce Parkway, furthering opportunity for development within the corridor in years to come.
2.1 Location & Transportation Connections
Hays, Kansas is the county seat of Ellis County and is located at the crossroads of I-70 and US-183. Convenient acccess to I-70 has ensured Hays' role as a retail and manufacturing hub for northwestern Kansas. I-70 is the most important east-west travel route in Kansas, connecting Hays with Denver, Colorado to the west and Kansas City, Kansas to the east. The Commerce Parkway was the last of three interchanges built in Hays, and is the one farthest to the east. Vine Street, two miles west of Commerce Parkway, supports the heaviest traffic use and provides access to big box retail, gas stations, and restaurants. Nevertheless, Commerce Parkway is the interchange closest to Hays Regional Airport and Airport Industrial Park, located 2.5 miles to the south.
2.2 Community Character & Project Context
Hays, Kansas is the largest city in northwestern Kansas with an approximate population of 20,000. In the 1980's, the city of Hays and Ellis County were primarily rural, and tended to focus on farming, agriculture, and oil extraction. In the late 1980's, the Hays region experienced declining economic fortunes. Then, to further the economic hardship, when the Commerce Parkway project was proposed, an oil business, Baxter- Travenol Laboratories, which employed about 1,200 people at its peak, closed down.
During the late 1980's and early 1990's the city decided to focus on diversifying its industrial base because of economic conditions. The local economy was also particularly vulnerable from closure of the Baxter-Travenol Laboratories, and the city decided that bringing in a diverse industrial base was important. As the city became more suburbanized, it attracted a variety of manufacturing industries and also began supporting a regional medical center, a university, and several major big-box retail chains. The industrial, commercial, and retail growth in recent years has established Hays as the retail and trade center for Northwest Kansas.?
The Commerce Parkway Interchange project is a grade-separated, diamond interchange that connects Interstate 70 with the Commerce Parkway to provide direct access to the Hays Airport Industrial Park, which is located about two miles south of Interstate 70 and adjacent to the Hays Regional Airport. In conjunction with the interchange improvement, Commerce Parkway was concurrently upgraded from a gravel surface road to concrete pavement. The building of the interchange relieved pressure on the overloaded US-183 and I-70 interchange and provided direct access for the new industrial park. Construction started in May 1994 and all improvements were complete by August 1995.
Based on interviews with former commissioners and economic development officials, the Commerce Parkway interchange was requested by the City of Hays and was mainly built because a strong coalition of local businesses and banks speculated that the future growth of Hays would be driven east. This group, named the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development (ECCED) was organized to provide vision and leadership for local economic development efforts. The Heartland Development Corporation, the major investor of the Airport Industrial Park, is comprised of many local business leaders and owners in the city and was one of the key supporters of the interchange development. Support comprised of lobbying efforts as well as financial backing. In addition to promoting economic development, the Commerce Parkway interchange was also built to relieve congestion from the Vine Street interchange by providing an alternate route to the downtown area and reducing heavy truck traffic at that exit. Despite some vocal opposition, city commissioners voted to construct the Commerce Parkway interchange at a cost of $3.35 million.
4.1 Transportation Impacts
Local traffic formerly using the US 183/Vine Street interchange chose to divert their route to use the new Commerce Parkway interchange. However, even with the relieved congestion, retail developments such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot that are located north of the Vine Street exit continue to cause congestion at the US 183/Vine St and I-70 interchange. Gas stations, restaurants, and motels are also still located at Vine Street which has prevented truck traffic from being diverted.
4.2 Demographic, Economic & Land Use Impacts
Major development has not yet started around the interchange but is expected as 22nd street, which formerly stopped a mile from the Commerce Parkway, has since been built out and extended to Commerce Parkway. This improvement is expected to create further economic growth by providing better access from the downtown area to the airport, industrial park, and the interchange. According to local economic development staff, a housing development, a vocational technical college, and various commercial establishments have relocated to 22nd Street due to the increased accessibility of the location. Additionally, the Hays Regional Hospital has reconfigured its doorway so that regular traffic and emergency services can better access 22nd Street and I-70.
Because of the interchange, the local community has continued to attract and retain high quality jobs at the Airport Industrial Park. A total of 2,233 new jobs have been added since the interchange was finished in 1995. The jobs attracted to the industrial park are fully attributable to the Commerce Parkway interchange, as well as some others along the 22nd Street corridor. It is estimated that possibly 745 jobs are attributed to the Commerce Parkway interchange.
The manufacturing jobs that were attracted to the industrial park are diverse in nature and include the companies noted below, as described in the KDOT study (with High Street Consulting Group 2008):
* A-1 Plank and Scaffolding, Inc: This plank and scaffold manufacturer and custom fabricator has locations in Kansas and California. The firm opened its facility in the Airport Industrial Park in 1996 and has since grown rapidly, employing 116 people as of 2007. The business cites easy access to Interstate 70 as an important factor for the business, which relies on truck transportation to bring in raw materials and to ship its products.
* Sykes Corporation/N.E.W. Inc: In 1998, Sykes Corporation opened a computer support call center in the Airport Industrial Park with about 435 employees. In 2004, Sykes closed its operations in Hays, but the City of Hays rapidly leased the call center facility to N.E.W., Inc., which is a national provider of extended service plans, buyer protection services and product support with customer support centers across the United States. N.E.W. is the fifth largest employer in Hays, with 373 employees in 2007.
* Next-Tech Wireless: Nex-Tech is a regional phone service provider in western Kansas and it has situated its new wireless headquarters, which includes administrative offices, a warehouse, and data center, in the Airport Industrial Park. Nex-Tech employs about 75 people at the facility. The location is desirable for Nex-Tech because it provides easy transportation network access for technicians.
* Army Reserve Center: In 2007, a 15 acre Army Reserve Center was opened on Commerce Parkway adjacent to I-70. Relocated from downtown Hays, the center now provides training and equipment maintenance functions and is able to store large vehicles and equipment with easy access to I-70 and the airport. The relocation of the Army Reserve center also created a vacant opportunity site in the downtown area ideal for retail use.
Interviewees noted that the scope of the Commerce Parkway influence is large ? as the Regional Airport attracts people from 90 miles away. The interchange is used by many locals, but also for this burgeoning set of new businesses in the area.
The industrial park required more than $3.5 million in local dollars for sewer and waterline infrastructure and improvements. In order to promote economic development in the area, the county and city agreed to zone a three-mile area around the site for industrial use.
City of Hays, Economic Development Policy Manual, Issued by the City Commission, Effective Data 08-26-04, Revised 1-12-06.
Kansas Department of Transportation and the High Street Consulting Group, ?Transportation
Infrastructure Investments and Economic Growth: Five Kansas Case Studies, ? Case Study ? Commerce Parkway Interchange, Hays, Ellis County, KS, November 2008.
Kansas Department of Transportation, 2009 Annual Report, www.ksdot.org/publications.asp
Herrman, Brenda, ECO-DEVO: Commerce Parkway and I-70 Interchange, Hays, Kansas Transportation Online Community, http://ktoc.net/blog_community.aspx.
U.S. Census of Population and Housing, 2000 Summary Population and Housing Characteristics: City of Hays QuickFacts, Washington: Government Printing Office.
OrganizationCity of Hays Ellis County Coalition for?Economic Development Kansas Department of Transportation Ellis County Department of Public Works