Douglas County has an opportunity to obtain road improvement funds from the federal stimulus package signed last week by President Barack Obama.
The Kansas Department of Transportation told county leaders Friday that $11 million was available for road and bridge improvements in the northeast Kansas district, which includes Douglas County.
On Monday, commissioners met with county engineer Keith Browning and considered applying for funds for two road projects. The main project would be the reconstruction of Douglas County Route 438, also known as the Farmers’ Turnpike, from County Road 1029 northwest of Lawrence to the Kansas Highway 10 intersection.
“It just looks like this project is custom-made for this,” Commissioner Jim Flory said.
That project is estimated to cost $2.6 million. Browning recommended applying for half of the necessary funding and the county paying the other half.
Browning said the indication he got from KDOT was that the more counties were willing to help finance part of the project the more attention an application might receive.
Commissioners may also include a second project: Resurfacing County Road 1057 east of Lawrence from County Road 442 to Kansas Highway 10, estimated to cost $300,000.
Applications must be received by KDOT by March 13. Browning will meet with commissioners again before the deadline to finalize road project selections and prepare the application.
Kansas will receive
$348 million from the stimulus bill. Of that, $70 million will be shared among six districts and two metropolitan areas. The Kansas City and Wichita areas are sharing $38 million, with $32 million going to other cities and counties in the districts.
Douglas County will be competing with other counties and cities that include Topeka, Manhattan and Emporia.