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KDOT designs US Highway 56 replacement through Ellinwood
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om left, Mayor Frank Koelsch, Sharon Schartz and Kerry Watkins look at a map of the reconstruction planned for U.S. Highway 56 through Ellinwood. Kansas Department of Transportation engineers and employees met with the public on Tuesday to explain the upcoming project. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

ELLINWOOD — The Kansas Department of Transportation has designed a reconstruction plan for U.S. Highway 56 through Ellinwood. This includes all new concrete pavement, curbs, gutter and work on the storm sewers, starting at Park Ave. and ending at SE 115 Ave.
The reason for the work is “bad pavement condition,” said Barry McManaman, KDOT engineer. However, “we’re not sure when it’s going to be done.”
The planning and designs are done, but the actual construction portion of the project has not yet been funded. KDOT plans to let the project for bid in 2015-16, depending on funding.
“We had the funds to design but not build,” said McManaman. The overall cost of the project is $7.7 million with a construction cost of $6 million.
That entire section of highway is owned by KDOT and along with poor pavement conditions, there have been problems with drainage and storm sewers.
During construction, which will last from 1-2 years, there will be no detours. The four lane highway will be divided, and traffic will continue head to head on two lanes.
The project will be done in smaller phases to maintain access to all businesses. In addition, the curbs will be changed to stand up curbs with curb cuts for businesses. Currently, lay down curbs are in use, which means that they can be driven over.
This will modify access to the businesses, but will be safer for entering and exiting traffic on the highway.
“Santa Fe has needed attention for some time now,” said Robert Peter, Ellinwood city administrator.  “KDOT has asked for input from the city as well as the citizens but KDOT will make the final decision on the design.”  
In addition, “the design will include a study on storm drainage and a rebuild of the storm sewer system along Santa Fe,” he said.  “Storm drainage in that area has been a problem for years, and we hope this will improve that situation.”