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State and local leaders react to launch of Polk-Quincy Viaduct project

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 6:49 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Replacing Downtown Topeka’s Polk-Quincy Viaduct will soon be underway.

The project is one of eight projects in the eastern part of the state the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is committed to funding through the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program.

$234 million dollars will go towards funding the work.

“As a Topekan, I know how important this is to my hometown and I am so happy that the city of Topeka and KDOT are partnering to make it happen,” Governor Kelly said.

“Investments and transportation or like a relay race each generation must carry the touch so the next generation can go farther.”

Kelly said $297 million in funds have been allotted for eight highway modernization and safety project across eastern Kansas.

$214 million in funding is coming from the state, and an additional $20 million contributed locally.

“We know that economic development and downtown development will be greatly improved by the accomplishment of this viaduct,” Topeka City Manager Brent Trout said.

“We know that many people travel through our community the numbers are staggering and this puts a much better look for our community.”

Plans include the expansion of a two-mile stretch of I-70 between MacVicar Ave. to Topeka Blvd. from four lanes to six, and replacing the existing viaduct to 4th St.

Leaders said it is part of a team effort to create a more welcoming environment to the the city.

“We’re quite excited about this project because we’re taking into consideration just the transportation aspects of the economic development in the community,” KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz said.

“It will be a structure that is a great opening to our capital city in a great place to help provide better walkability and better than it is for the city.”

“I think one it’s going to show that we have great community pride that we’re taking care of our infrastructure but what is going to do for downtown the ingress and egress safety, too I mean getting on and off of that Polk-Quincy viaduct is a little bit of a hair raising experience,” Greater Topeka Partnership CEO Matt Pivarnik said.

“We just feel a lot better knowing that whether it’s our own citizens or whether people visiting they’re going to pass through Kansas gonna be able to see our beautiful capital city I do in a safe way.”

The project is expected to be let for construction in 2024, with work to begin soon after that.

A proposed new bridge will shift the highway to the north, flattening the curve by about half and minimizing the number of ramps.

Earlier this year KDOT says the alignment also would allow normal I-70 traffic in the first year of construction, but they would need to close the highway the second year.

To read more about the Polk-Quincy Viaduct replacement, along with the other projects approved click here.

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