State program helps boost rural highway connections.

Motorists on the south end of Garden City's Main Street have had a bit more of a traffic situation to navigate in recent weeks.

The city is in the midst of the first part of a two-phase project to rebuild a stretch of Main Street between Fulton and Maple streets. Workers are replacing existing asphalt and underlying brick with nine inches of more durable concrete pavement.

Of nearly $500,000 for the project, the city is responsible for half, which was budgeted over two years. The Kansas Department of Transportation's Connecting Links program provided the remainder of funding needed to cover the cost.

The investment will bring that portion of Main Street up to speed with other parts of the street. Concrete holds up better than asphalt, so the city and its taxpayers should expect lower maintenance costs for a stretch of roadway regularly used by heavy trucks.

State funding for the project came from the Connecting Links program (KLINK), which assists local governments in making road improvements on city connecting links those that involve city streets that connect two rural portions of the state highway system.

KLINK projects may range in scope from surface replacement and overlay to minor patching and other repairs.

Connecting links to the interstate system aren't eligible for the KLINK resurfacing program. So, a community like Garden City that otherwise has transportation-related challenges and often is at a disadvantage because it doesn't connect to an interstate, has the advantage with this particular program, which has been used locally for other street improvements.

The plan is to finish the first phase of the Main Street project before Christmas, with the second part set to begin next year. Shoppers shouldn't be deterred by the street work as they head downtown to fill holiday gift lists.

For now, any inconvenience to motorists would be in the lower speed limit in the work zone, no on-street parking in the construction area, and no cross traffic at Santa Fe Street.

All told, the community has paid a reasonable price for an improvement that promises to deliver a better, more durable street surface.