News Briefs

Delayed U.S. 50 project breaks ground with promise of jobs

By: - July 21, 2020 6:15 am

Kansas Department of Transportation secretary Julie Lorenz (left), Gov. Laura Kelly and Kass Construction CEO David Howard break ground Monday on U.S. Highway 50 expansion in Emporia. (Gov. Laura Kelly’s official Facebook page)

Gov. Laura Kelly and Kansas Department of Transportation secretary Julie Lorenz broke ground Monday on a long-delayed project to widen a one-mile area of U.S. Highway 50 to four lanes.

The expansion, which will cover an area with heavy truck traffic near Emporia in Lyon County, was one of the delayed T-WORKS projects selected for construction in 2011. With work beginning on U.S. 50, only 17 unfinished projects remain.

“We’re delivering on a long overdue promise to Emporia and all of central Kansas,” Kelly said. “This will help make truck traffic safer and expand economic opportunity in the area.”

The expansion is moving forward under the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, or IKE, a 10-year program passed by the Legislature and signed into law earlier this year. The program addresses transportation needs by identifying new projects on an ongoing basis and will allow KDOT to begin construction on all remaining T-WORKS projects within the next two years.

The project originally called for two miles of highway to be expanded and five new sets of passing lanes, but Lorenz said through collaborative efforts with the community, they settled on one mile of the four-lane highway and eight sets of passing lanes.

Lorenz said the project will create construction jobs in the area in a time where many Kansans are unemployed.

“More jobs, safer roads, and better service for Kansans,” Lorenz said. “That’s what we will deliver under IKE, and today is an important step in that direction.”

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Noah Taborda
Noah Taborda

Noah Taborda started his journalism career in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri, covering local government and producing an episode of the podcast Show Me The State while earning his bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Noah then made a short move to Kansas City, Missouri, to work at KCUR as an intern on the talk show Central Standard and then in the newsroom, reporting on daily news and feature stories.