TOPEKA – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly Wednesday joined Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz to announce the addition of 25 highway modernization and expansion projects totaling $750 million to the development pipeline as part of the Kelly Administration’s bipartisan, 10-year Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program (IKE).
The pipeline announcement clears the way for preliminary engineering work to begin on these projects, which are located in every region of the state.
Among these is the reconstruction and geometric improvements to a stretch of U.S. 281 from Russell north to near the Osborne County line. The $10 million project will help with economic development and accommodate increasing truck traffic, KDOT reported.
“These projects are in every region of the state – and they improve safety, expand economic development opportunities, and strengthen our communities,” Governor Kelly said. “My administration is committed to making short- and long-term infrastructure improvements to benefit future generations of Kansans – just as we rely on investments made by previous generations of Kansans.”
The governor’s release of the list of projects advancing within the IKE pipeline was made in tandem with two other Kansas transportation milestones: impact on Kansas transportation with passage of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation (BIL) and the beginning of the construction process for all remaining T-WORKS highway projects.
Secretary Lorenz said BIL will direct to Kansas an additional approximately $145 million annually for the next five years for highways and bridges. She said input from Kansans will help determine what investments will be most meaningful to rural and urban communities across the state.
“Early next year, we will host workshops with stakeholders to share new opportunities for Kansas and to discuss delivery strategies,” said Secretary Lorenz. “We will not only view it through the lens of what works best for KDOT. I’ve asked staff to watch for opportunities for local governments, too.”
Max Dibble, a Philips County commissioner and member of the 2018 Joint Legislative Transportation Vision Task Force, joined Governor Kelly and Secretary Lorenz in making the T-WORKS announcement. Dibble said with today’s construction letting, all delayed T-WORKS highway modernization and expansion projects have moved to construction and fulfilled the legislative requirement allowing KDOT to construct new IKE projects.
A four-lane expressway from Dodge City to Cimarron on U.S. 50 and making intersection improvements and adding three miles of four-lane expressway on K-68 are the two last T-WORKS projects.
“Communities that have waited for years can now celebrate knowing that ground will break soon and these projects will be built,” Dibble said. “Projects promised to Kansans 11 years ago are now underway.”