State officials this afternoon cut the ribbon to officially open reconstructed I-70 in Sherman County.
The event at the eastbound Travel Information Center west of Goodland marked the completion of the three-year project to rebuild both east and westbound lanes of I-70 from the Colorado border to a point 12 miles into Kansas. Koss Construction Co., of Topeka was the prime contractor for the $48 million project.
“Interstate 70 is an important highway, not just for Sherman County and the state of Kansas – but for the entire nation,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary and Director of the Turnpike Mike King. “It spans nearly coast to coast and carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles and moves hundreds of millions of dollars in commerce every day.”
King pointed out that it is easy to tell where the border of states begin and end based upon the quality of the roadway.
“It’s a good first impression,” King said. “That’s what we want to give people traveling into the state.”
He also stressed the importance of how these roadways effect not just the locals of northwest Kansas, but for the thousands of tons of merchandise and goods that travels I-70 from coast-to-coast.
“Hundreds of thousands of vehicles use this road,” King said. “Hundreds of millions of dollars in product go down the road too.”
In addition to Secretary King, speakers included President/C.E.O. of Koss Construction David Howard, State Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, and State Rep. Ward Cassidy.
“Kansans expect good roads,” State Senator Ralph Ostmeyer said. “We like to travel and it’s a great thing to have great roads.”
KDOT district engineer Travis Scott headed the work efforts that began back in June 2011.
“It’s been a large amount of work to do in a short amount of time,” Scott said. “This roadway was getting to the point where it was giving up. You can only rehabilitate a road so many times before you need to go clear down to the bottom and rebuild it back up. We should have a maintenance free 12 miles of roadway for the next 20-plus years.”
This I-70 reconstruction project is funded by T-WORKS, the transportation program passed by the Kansas Legislature in May of 2010.
—This story was compiled and written by Beau Tiongson. Additional info via Kansas Department of Transportation press release.