Gov. Kelly announces funding for $297M in state highway projects, including $12M Lawrence interchange project

photo by: Kansas Office of the Governor

Gov. Laura Kelly announces upcoming highway improvement projects at an event in Topeka on July 8, 2021.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has announced funding for eight highway projects in eastern Kansas totaling more than $297 million, including a $12 million project that will reconstruct an interchange of Kansas Highway 10 in Lawrence.

The projects are the first highway expansion and modernization projects as part of the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, known as IKE, and have been committed to construction as part of the Kelly administration’s bipartisan transportation plan, according to a news release.

“These eight highway improvement projects will enhance accessibility and road safety to recruit new businesses and families to eastern Kansas,” Kelly said in the release.

The K-10 project will replace the current interchange at Sixth Street with a diverging diamond interchange, making it the first interchange with such a format in Lawrence. A diverging diamond interchange is a type of interchange in which the two directions of traffic on the nonfreeway road cross to the opposite side on both sides of the bridge at the freeway, according to a previous Kansas Department of Transportation news release. It is unusual in that it requires traffic on the freeway overpass or underpass to briefly drive on the opposite side of the road from what is customary.

A news release from the City of Lawrence said that the state has committed to providing $10.5 million for the project, while the city will cover the remaining $1.5 million.

The largest project among the eight announced Thursday is the $234 million replacement of Topeka’s Polk-Quincy Viaduct and expanding Interstate 70 to six lanes from MacVicar Avenue to Topeka Boulevard.

All the projects announced Thursday are currently scheduled to go out for bids in 2023, except for Polk-Quincy, which will go out for bids in 2024. The Kansas Department of Transportation will host meetings this fall to identify additional regional priorities to be added to the development pipeline and continue working on those projects that were placed in development in May 2020.

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