Senator Jake LaTurner announced today that he has received assurance from the Governor's Office that the first of three projects of Highway 69 will not only be reinstated but the construction process will begin nearly a year sooner. LaTurner has been battling with the administration since KDOT delays were announced in April. LaTurner sent a letter to and met with the Governor and has been in continuous contact with administration officials where he stressed the importance of the project for reasons of safety and economic development. While a verbal commitment has been made, a formal response to LaTurner’s letter is still forthcoming.
The agreement to reinstate and move up one of the projects was reached after LaTurner authored a proviso to the budget to restore the project. The administration was leery of naming individual projects in statute and agreed to move up the first of three sections and commit to working towards completing the remaining projects.
Ken Brock, President of the Kansas Highway 69 Association said, "This is a big victory for the people of Southeast Kansas." LaTurner said, "Moving this important project up is a meaningful development."
Before the delay was announced last month Highway 69 was slated to begin in June 2017. This project will continue four lanes south from Fort Scott approximately 6 miles with an approximate cost of $25 million. The letting will take place in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 or by October 1, 2016. LaTurner said, "I was hired to fight for the people of Southeast Kansas and that's what I have done and will continue to do."
Statement from Governor's spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley:
"The Governor gave his word that the completion of the U.S. 69 corridor was a priority of his. He has been working with KDOT to find ways to reschedule this project. Secretary King will share additional details on the US 69 Bourbon County project when he visits Pittsburg on Friday.”
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas