Bidding Process Complete for a Section of Highway 69 Expansion

Bidding Process Complete for a Section of Highway 69 Expansion
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The bidding process is complete for a section of the Highway 69 expansion project in Southeast Kansas.
The expansion project was 1 of 25 canceled earlier this year but is now back on.
“There is going to be a contract signed that locks Topeka in to keeping their promises. My job is to make sure that they do right by southeast Kansans and today is a very big step in the right direction,” says Senator Jake LaTurner.
The expansion will start just south of Fort Scott, where it’s already 4 lanes, and will continue south 6 miles, stopping at the Crawford County line.
Residents who travel between Fort Scott and Pittsburg are looking forward to its completion.
“It’ll mean that I can get out here to pick my son up safer and get back quicker and safer and not worry so much about the traffic on the road,” says Pittsburg resident Tamra Timbrook.
“A divided highway is going to be much safer. Trucks can’t help it but they’ll get way under the speed and then people will try to pass them and have a problem,” says Hume resident Hannibal Hinton, Jr.
In addition to safety and speed the expansion could help with economic development in Southeast Kansas.
“We’ll have a lot more I think commercial trade coming up here in the sense of Fort Scott, a lot of people they’ll go to Joplin from Pittsburg and being a 4 lane we may have a better opportunity to go ahead and draw some of that business up this way,” says Shaunn Pytlowany of Fort Scott.
A $20.3 million bid from a Topeka construction company was selected, $6 million under the estimated cost.
LaTurner will be writing the governor to ensure that the savings goes towards continued expansion into Crawford County.
“I hope it just continues on south. That would be the most logical there’s already equipment out there I think you’d even see a greater savings when there’s not the cost in moving equipment,” says LaTurner.
KDOT officials say construction could start as early as March. The contract with Koss Construction out of Topeka should be signed within the next few weeks.