Crews have been busy the past few weeks relocating utilities along portions of Kansas Highway 68 between Paola and Louisburg as the state prepares to start two long-awaited projects.
Both projects are part of the state’s new 10-year transportation plan, which Gov. Laura Kelly signed last year and puts previously delayed improvements to K-68 in Miami County back on the radar.
The $10 billion plan is being called the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program. The program will impact every part of the state, as $8 million is slated to be spent in all 105 counties in Kansas during the next decade.
The plan also calls for the completion of the previously abandoned T-Works projects and states that they should be let prior to July 1, 2023.
Two of those projects involve improvements to K-68 that Miami County officials and residents have been counting on for years. The first is the four-lane expansion of Highway 68 from U.S. Highway 69 west about 0.8 mile, and the second is a frontage road from Somerset Road east about 0.3 mile near the Louisburg Cider Mill.
The expansion project previously was scheduled to cost $11.5 million with a let date of January 2018, and the frontage road project was scheduled to cost $2,260,000 with a let date of July 2016 before funding issues prompted the plans to be shelved.
Steve Rockers, road design leader at the Kansas Department of Transportation, said the past year has been spent acquiring right of way and preparing to move utilities for the projects. He said both projects are set for December bid lettings, with construction likely beginning in the spring of 2022.