Area community officials, business leaders and residents are being encouraged to participate in an upcoming Kansas Department of Transportation meeting in Hutchinson to support the next phase of state highway construction to include a project between Hutchinson and Sterling as part of the continued effort to improve transportation in this part of the state.
Monday the Barton County Commission approved a resolution of support for the project, which will be discussed Oct. 28.
Barton, Rice and Reno counties continue to support inclusion of the K-96 improvement project for the next round of state highway programs.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman explained the current highway in this area is curvy, hilly and has very poor shoulders. He said it is “just not a very safe highway.”
Not only would the super-two improvements and diagonal direction make the route more efficient for people traveling between here and Hutchinson, and on to Wichita, but it would also be considerably safer.
The resolution that was adopted addressed the need to improve safety and the economic vitality of the area through this transportation improvement.
The meeting is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Oct. 28, and according to information from local officials, local residents are being encouraged to travel to Hutchinson to support the proposed improvements to K-96 highway between Hutchinson and Sterling.
It will, if successful, be one of the step in creating an improved route from Great Bend to Hutchinson, and on to Wichita, and that is an important asset, if it can be realized, City Administrator Howard Partington reported earlier.
Partington explained that a Local Consultation Meeting will be held by Kansas Department of Transportation District 5 at the Grand Prairie Hotel in Hutchinson on Oct. 28 and one of the options that is being currently considered is improvements to the route.
It’s important that the community show up to support the program, he added. “We do need a good showing.”
The results of this meeting will contribute to 25 percent of the scoring for the project. Another 25 percent involves economic development issues and 50 percent is based on the engineering criteria, Partington explained.
Barton County Commissioners also addressed problems with K-4 highway at Redwing, Monday.
Commissioners have been attempting to get KDOT interesting in making improvements to a bridge at the intersection of K-4 and the county road that heads north on the east side of Redwing.
While KDOT has agreed to improve “no passing” signage at that point, the study does not show the area meets requirements for speed reduction.
Commission Chairman Kirby Krier, who uses the intersection to crop transportation, urged that what is needed is a widening of the roadway in this area.