Officials from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), held a public meeting, Wednesday at the Dodge City Public Library.
The officials gave an update about the progress of the planned expansion of US Highway 50 and gave details about the concept that the department has chosen to proceed with. Government officials were briefed in a separate meeting.
According to a handout that was distributed by KDOT, the purpose of the public meeting was to allow citizens to view the plan maps and designs, inform the public about the progress of the project, detail the project schedule, and to explain how the project is being funded.
Details about the project were articulated by Larry Thompson, the KDOT District 6 Engineer and consulting engineers, Simon Sun and Triveece Harvey. The speakers used a slide presentation to help illustrate how the project has been designed, how it will appear, and how it will affect given areas.
According to the KDOT handout, two additional lanes will be added to 16 miles of US 50 between Dodge City and Cimarron. The existing two lanes will remain in use during the construction period. Upon completion of the project, two eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes will be operational with a grassy median as a divider.
The main goals of the expansion are to elongate curves on a stretch of road near Cimarron, limit the number of access points to the highway, decrease congestion, and reduce travel time for commuters, the handout said.
The project is expected to cost 69 million dollars, adjusted for inflation, when construction is planned to begin in 2018, the handout said.
Alternative concepts that were previously considered would have been more costly and would have required more construction. The plan that has been chosen makes use of the existing highway, which decreased the amount of money that would have needed to be spent, according to Jon Halbgewachs, one of the consulting engineers on the project.
Sun, another of the consulting engineers, said that the concept has thus far has been very well received by citizens from around the expansion project area. The input that KDOT and the engineers have received from citizens at public meetings has been considered and has influenced how the plan was designed.