GEARY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Geary County citizens and commuters were able to voice their opinions and concerns Wednesday on proposed construction projects for US-77.
KDOT officials along with consultants and engineers met one-on-one with attendees during an open house at Junction City Middle School Wednesday night.
KDOT has allocated $40 million to improve a 10 mile corridor along US-77 from I-70 to K-57 as part of T-WORKS, the state’s 10-year transportation program.
Because $40 million does not provide enough funding to construct a 4-lane highway and address every issue along the corridor, KDOT is balancing community input with engineering data in order to identify options and prioritize possible improvements.
A US-77 Task Force made up of citizens, county and city officials in Geary County/Junction City and state representatives has already suggested initial segments and KDOT officials say the open meeting was designed for them to get feedback on the proposed solutions in order for them to make final decisions regarding the projects.
On the north end of the corridor there is less traffic and development compared to the south end, closer to the interstate, so officials say they want to balance out the funds and identify the areas that need work.
“There’s been a lot of work that’s gone into this project up until this point. The task force has given us a lot of great input and now we can better refine those initial suggestions by holding this public meeting. It’s the best way for us to really understand. The folks who drive the road every day have a better understanding of what needs to be done and what the conditions on the ground are,”said Josh Powers, KDOT Public Involvement Liaison.
“We have $40 million in construction costs and we have to figure out how to allocate it along the corridor. We don’t have enough money to do all of the improvements that we could and so we’re here to get public input to see the pieces where people are more interested in seeing construction. We’re looking at adding capacity and enhancing safety and that includes intersection improvements, lane widening, a new interchange at K-18. We’re looking at all of those things,” added KDOT project manager, Debbie Tanking.
Construction on US-77 is expected to start in 2017.
For the latest US-77 project information, go to http://kdotapp.ksdot.org/TWorks/Projects/CurrentProjects and select Geary County.