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Times have been busy for Seward County and soon, the area will be seeing some major benefits thanks to a couple of recent bills.

Tuesday, Gov. Laura Kelly announced $3.5 million will be awarded to 13 projects through the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Innovative Technology Program. The program makes investments that improve safety, access, or mobility and implement new transportation technology. Seward County Community College was awarded $335,625, which will go toward truck simulators for the college’s CDL program expansion.

“My administration is delivering technological advancements to increase transportation safety in every corner of the state,” Gov. Kelly noted in a release from the State of Kansas. “Through collaboration with local entities, this investment supports innovative transportation improvements in rural and urban communities. All transportation system projects are eligible for Innovative Technology funding. Examples of projects selected for technology upgrades in this round include aviation and rail upgrades, traffic engineering and school zone enhancements, and truck simulators for CDL (commercial driver’s license) program expansion.”

State funding for the projects will be enhanced by a minimum 25 percent local match from each recipient, resulting in a total innovative technology investment of more than $5.3 million. The program is part of the Kelly Administration’s bipartisan 10-year, $10 billion Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, also known as IKE.

“New and emerging technologies offer the potential for a safer, more efficient transportation system,” Transportation Secretary Calvin Reed noted in Tuesday’s release from the State of Kansas. “This latest round of Innovative Technology projects demonstrates how Kansas communities are proactively turning to technology to improve operations for now and the future.”

More good news for the county came Thursday, when Gov. Kelly announced $6.65 million in federal funds will go to 10 rural projects to increase the safety and efficiency of local roadways. The effort is part of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s High Risk Rural Roads (HRRR) Program. Seward County was awarded $775,000 (with a county match of $202,000), for projects to extend four culverts, flatten the fore slopes, and install 1.5-inch shoulders on Road I north of Road 16.

“Our rural roads are important to the local and state economy,” Gov. Kelly noted in Thursday’s release from the State of Kansas. “Programs like this enable commerce to flow smoothly and improve safety for Kansas families as they travel our state. The HRRR program is federally funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program and is designed to improve rural road safety. An additional $2.37 million in local funds will be used for the selected projects. This year’s 10 HRRR projects were selected from 46 applications seeking $40.5 million in federal funds.”

“Data shows more than 60 percent of fatal and serious injury crashes occur on county-owned roads and highways,” Reed noted in Thursday’s release from the State of Kansas. “These funds assist our rural partners to increase roadway safety by using low-cost and proven countermeasures.”

Projects in this program fall into one of two categories: Systemic (encompassing a local roadway network) or Site Specific.

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