(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about the continuing effort to promote the K-96 highway project.)
Great Bend was well represented last week in the Kansas Department of Transportation regional meeting in Hutchinson, in which the K-96 improvement project was one of the most supported projects under discussion.
City Administrator Howard Partington said the outcome of that meeting was encouraging.
“The meeting consisted of 10 break-out groups that discussed all the projects in our region, with hopes of developing consensus between the communities on which projects should have the highest priority. The K-96 expansion was listed in the top tier of all 10 groups.”
Partington noted that in addition to those from Great Bend and Barton County who are working together on this project, it is also important that representatives from Reno and Rice counties continue to pull for the project.
And the state officials have been helpful, the city administrator explained. “Julie Lorenz (of KDOT) has been a true professional as she provided information as I requested on a timely basis, even when she was on the road and very busy.”
The local support has been amazing, Partington added. “While there are just too many people to thank for their support and actions to prove to District 5 that our K-96 project is viable and valuable to the entire region in the state of Kansas, I want to profess a heartfelt thanks to all,” he added. He did, however, single out former city councilman Mark Mingenback who stood in for Partington, who was undergoing knee surgery at the time of the KDOT meeting.
But there’s still much to be done to get the project approved, Partington urged. “It’s not done yet. There are lots and lots of hurdles.”
County Administrator Richard Boeckman, speaking at Monday’s Barton County Commission meeting, said that project, which could account for about $45 million of the $300 to $600 million the state will invest in the 10-year funding, was included in the top three projects in all of the break-out study sessions held at the regional meeting.