Local officials and representatives of the Kansas Department of Transportation recently participated in a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the completion of the two-year $82 million K-14 highway realignment project.
[Above photo by Kansas DOT]
The new highway connects the towns of Hutchinson to Nickerson and Sterling, through Reno and Rice counties, with extra right of way secured to enable future modernization if needed to four lanes.
The agency said the new K-14 alignment is more efficient for motorists because it avoids stops, changing speed limits, and sharper turns of the previous highway design – which in places dated to World War I.
Access to the new K-14 is limited to ramps at three new interchanges – at 56th Avenue near Hutchinson, at Nickerson Road near Nickerson, and at Broadway Avenue near Sterling – to help reduce the risk of collisions.
“Now we open the door to the convenience and opportunity this newly constructed highway represents,” explained Calvin Reed, Kansas DOT’s acting secretary, in a statement.
“The convenience of the new K-14 will be an additional selling point in attracting – and keeping – new residents and new businesses to Rice and Reno counties,” he added.
The Kansas DOT has been involved in several highway modernization projects of late, designed to handle both economic and population growth across the state.
For example, the agency held a groundbreaking ceremony in early 2023 for the “69Express” project – the state’s very first express toll lane effort – which should be completed by 2025.
Kansas DOT said traffic on U.S. 69 is expected to increase 450 percent by 2050, which is why the “69Express” project seeks to head off the potential for congestion by proactively widening the roadway from just south of 151st Street to just north of 103rd Street in Overland Park.
The 69Express project will add two new toll lanes to U.S. 69 – one northbound and one southbound – with “dynamic pricing” used to manage congestion by maintaining a free flow of traffic in the express lanes and reducing traffic in the two non-tolled lanes.