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Gov. Kelly announces funding for bridges


PITTSBURG, Kan. — Gov. Laura Kelly and Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz on Tuesday announced that more than $40 million will support 33 local and off-system bridge projects across the state, including several in Southeast Kansas. 

The announcement “comes as part of two local bridge improvement programs reshaped to take advantage of new revenue streams generated by the federally approved Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL),” according to the governor’s office. 

“My administration is committed to improving Kansas’ transportation system, including city- and county-owned bridges in need of overdue repairs,” Kelly said in a press release. “These bridge programs demonstrate how, by fostering partnerships among all levels of government, we can build a robust, responsive infrastructure system that provides efficient and safe transportation routes and boosts state and local economies.” 

The Off-System Bridge Program (OSB) has expanded from $8 million in annual funding to $20.5 million. Funds ranging from $460,000 to $1.4 million were awarded for each of 22 projects for Federal Fiscal Year 2024, out of 99 applications. The Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program (KLBIP), meanwhile, has increased from $5 million annually to $20 million. For State Fiscal Year 2023, 11 KLBIP projects were selected out of 114 applications, and will replace 10 deficient bridges and permanently remove seven deficient bridges. The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) bridge improvement programs include approximately $137.5 million in BIL funds over the next five years. 

In Southeast Kansas, OSB projects selected for FY 2024 include one in Labette County on 25000 Road, four miles east of Parsons, where a local contribution of $103,742 will help pay for the $960,000 total project cost. In Montgomery County, a local contribution of $70,982 will go towards a total cost of $1,490,000 for a project on 1800 Road, 1.5 miles east of Coffeyville, and in Chautauqua County, a local contribution of $60,061 will help pay for the $600,000 total cost of a project 0.6 miles south and two miles east of Cedarvale. 

KLBIP projects for FY 2023 in Southeast Kansas, meanwhile, include one located 1.6 miles west of Hamilton in Greenwood County that has been approved for a maximum of $1,095,000 in KDOT match funds, as well as $215,000 for bridge removal, for a total maximum of $1,310,000. In Neosho County, a local contribution of $2,237,968, along with a maximum of $5,400,000 in KDOT match funds, will go toward a project two miles north of Chanute. 

“These local bridges are the lifeblood of many communities,” Lorenz said. “Most ag loads start in a field, are placed in a truck, and have to cross a county bridge to get to a state highway or rail line. Congratulations to these Kansas communities for partnering with KDOT and securing local matching funds that keep critical bridges open to the public and moving commerce.” 

There are approximately 19,300 bridges on Kansas’ local road systems. More than a quarter — or about 5,000 — of those bridges are in poor condition or unable to meet today’s weight and vehicle requirements, according to the governor’s office.