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<i>I recently read the Journal-World article that the Kansas Department of Transportation is balking at lending long-term financial support to another proposed east Lawrence bypass. Why doesn't the Kansas Department of Transportation commit money to this project, rather than constantly tearing up perfectly good stretches of I-70?</i>

The Kansas Department of Transportation has two separate pools of money budgeted, for construction improvements like the ones on Interstate 70 and for system enhancement projects like the city's eastern bypass, said KDOT spokesman Marty Matthews.

The city of Lawrence has asked KDOT for $40 million to build a bypass linking Kansas Highway 10 to U.S. Highway 24-40. Matthews said KDOT has $1 billion set aside for system enhancement projects as part of its 10-year comprehensive highway plan.

On average, Matthews said KDOT has $331 million annually to spend on major modifications to the state's highway system, and the work being done on I-70 between Topeka and Manhattan fits that criteria. He said the construction work is needed because the original concrete base, which is under layers of asphalt on the interstate, has deteriorated.

"We have kept up on the maintenance, but the sub-structure has been crumbling," he said.

KDOT also spends about $339 million a year for minor maintenance and overlays.

Right now, Matthews said KDOT is reviewing the system enhancement projects and will announce the approved projects during the first two weeks of August.

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