Osage County highway project among many delayed by state budget cuts – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Osage County highway project among many delayed by state budget cuts

At a 2013 open house, Osage County residents and KDOT officials discuss the planned construction of a new highway to replace a seven mile stretch of K-31 east of Osage City. File photo.

A long awaited highway modernization project in Osage County has been delayed along with numerous projects statewide due to the state’s funding crunch.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced that in accordance with measures outlined by state budget director Shawn Sullivan Wednesday, it will delay highway modernization and expansion projects scheduled for fiscal years 2017 and 2018.

In fall of 2013, KDOT announced a 7-mile stretch of state Highway 31 in Osage County, between Osage City and U.S. Highway 75, was slated to be modernized, with estimated completion in 2018. KDOT’s latest schedule showed the project would be let for bids in May 2017.

The Osage County project is among 10 state modernization projects and 15 expansion projects designated by KDOT to be delayed until remaining state highway fund revenues allow or new money is made available.

A KDOT press release about the project delays explained that modernization and expansion projects are generally larger projects under the current T-WORKS transportation program. Modernization includes work such as the addition of shoulders, passing lanes and remediation of hills and curves. Expansion projects add capacity to the highway system.

As proposed in 2013, the K-31 project would construct an entire new two-lane roadway with shoulders south of the existing highway. When announced, the project was estimated at $16 million; the 2016 estimate is $20.6 million.

The delays in FY 2017 include 10 projects that have an estimated construction cost of $273.5 million; in FY 2018, the delays include 15 projects that have an estimated construction cost of $279.2 million.

“Despite the delays, the overall good condition of the 10,000-mile state highway system won’t be impacted since KDOT’s preservation projects will be let to contract as scheduled and will be funded at the $400 million per year level. Nor will these delays affect projects that are already underway,” Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King said.

For more information about the proposed Osage County K-31 project, see related story here.

For an On Windy Hill opinion about the K-31 project, click here.

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