Ribbon cutting celebrates newly-reopened bypass
By SCOTT AUST
City and state officials participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning to celebrate the newly-reopened bypass and improvements made to the Schulman Avenue intersection.
"What a great day to be in Garden City," Roy Cessna, Garden City vice mayor, said. "This is awesome that we have a new intersection. The Menards store is the cornerstone of the Schulman Crossing intersection development that led us here today."
Cessna acknowledged the cooperation and partnership with the Kansas Department of Transportation on both projects, citing them as good examples of how partnerships should work.
Improvements to the intersection happened relatively quickly following a traffic impact study in January 2012, Cessna said. Overall, the city received a $5.34 million major highway and street improvement, of which, KDOT provided $3.25 million in state funding.
KDOT Secretary Mike King said the project was one of the first things he signed when he became state secretary of transportation.
"It's a great example of how quick things can go when we all work together, when we get things to our design partners, to the city, to the KDOT folks and the contractors, to really make this happen," he said.
Each year, KDOT has about $10 million in economic development funds that can be used for projects like the one in Garden City. He predicted big things when Mendards is up and running.
"Menards, here, is going to have a big pull from a multi-state area," he said. "It will bring in tax dollars to the state, which benefits us all. KDOT, too. Our biggest source of revenue is from sales tax dollars."
The U.S. Highway 50/83/400 bypass officially reopened late Monday afternoon. The northbound off-ramp at Kansas Avenue will continue to be under construction for several days.
The bypass was closed in January between Fulton Street and Kansas Avenue for a project that widened and rebuilt the roadway for one-third of a mile north and south of the Schulman Avenue intersection, and added turning lanes and a traffic signal at Schulman.
Schulman Avenue and the frontage road east of the bypass are open to local traffic. West of the bypass, Schulman Avenue will remain closed to through traffic, but local traffic will be available from Campus Drive and McCoy Street.
Schulman Avenue is expected to open for through traffic in early June.
Regarding Mendards, there is no new information about when the store will open though the store is being stocked with merchandise. A couple of weeks ago, there was speculation the store might open at the end of May, but Mendards has not yet made an official announcement.
The Menards store covers about 162,000 square feet on about 28 acres.