$43 million overhaul coming to Highway 7 between Columbus and Cherokee

$43 million overhaul coming to Highway 7 between Columbus and Cherokee
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In Southeast Kansas, officials will soon overhaul 11 miles of Highway 7.

The Kansas Department of Transportation has announced $43 million will go to modernizing Highway 7 between Cherokee and Columbus.

“I’m not that crazy about the upcoming project really,” said Joe Daint, Scammon resident.

Dainty drives Highway 7 everyday.

Because Scammon is located half way between Columbus and Cherokee, Dainty is concerned about the impact the project will have on the town.

“Fewer people are going to come to Scammon and the gas station here,” Dainty said.

The first section of the project will be north of Scammon and Highway 102.

The second section will be south of Scammon towards Columbus.

“We’re going to completely re-do it from the ground up,” said George Dockery, area engineer for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Engineer George Dockery says the first step of the overhaul is to fill in strip mines and underground mines beneath the highway.

Then lanes will be widened, shoulders added, and drainage problems addressed.

“There will still be two lanes, but both lanes will be 12 feet wide, while the old ones were just 10-foot lanes,” Dockery said.

Officials say the added shoulders and wider lanes will reduce the overall number of accidents.

“If they get over to the edge, since it’s narrow anyway, if they get one of their trailer tires over the edge, it will flip them over every time,” Dockery said. “We’ve had several flip over.”

The 11 mile stretch will also gain slopes and a flat bottom ditch outside the shoulder.

The two year project is expected to begin in March of 2016.

The Highway 7 project is among $1.2 billion worth of road projects planned across the state.