Due to the hard work of city leaders, Fort Scott could soon be seeing more projects and improvements being accomplished around town to better roads and sidewalks for travelers’ convenience.
Already, work continues steadily on National Avenue between 6th and 13th streets, with the project expected to be done by August to improve the drainage and pipelines running along that roadway.
Earlier this month, City Manager Dave Martin said residents and travelers through the city will see even more work being done as the city uses grants and Kansas Department of Transportation funds to improve the streets and sidewalks.
In upcoming weeks, a sidewalk project will begin on the south side of Wall Street between Margrave and Steen streets. Earlier this month, bids came in on the project which will be accomplished with about $175,000 in grant money.
“A lot of people walk on that street,” Martin said, adding there are other areas of town that are in need of sidewalk improvements as well.
The city received a grant in 2014 to improve walking routes to Fort Scott schools by improving and connecting sidewalks, a project of almost $270,000. This Safe Routes to School grant will be used in the areas around the two elementary schools and should be put to bid in November as the city waits for approval from KDOT concerning easements and sidewalk locations.
But improvements will be made for drivers as well as pedestrians in Fort Scott as the widening project of Highway 69 begins in the next month, with contractors already working to determine how to route traffic safely through the area while work is done.
That project will be located between the National Avenue and 23rd Street intersections with Highway 69, with a traffic signal being added at National Avenue, the light at 23rd Street upgraded, a turning lane added and business entrances cleaned up. Because of the extent of the project, Martin said it will likely take a year to complete.
“That’s a big project,” Martin said of the $3.5 million KDOT and Fort Scott project.
Similarly, north and south turning lanes and a new entrance will also be added at the Industrial Park on the south side of Fort Scott to improve traffic flow in that area, an issue KDOT became aware of after the addition of the LaRoche Baseball Complex. Martin said bidding will occur in 2016 for that $1.5 million project.
“It makes it very stressful at times, but that’s a good thing,” Martin said of the work.
Although several projects may be occurring simultaneously, Martin said in just a couple years’ time a significant difference would be made, and with the assistance of grants instead of just taxpayers’ money.
“With the financial situation as it is, it’s a good thing we went ahead and moved forward on these as they did,” Martin said. “Because you just never know what’s going to happen.”
In the meantime, drivers and residents in Fort Scott may have to be patient and remain aware of construction zones.