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The Kansas Department of Transportation has informed the City of Eudora that it was not chosen for a 2013 Transportation Enhancement grant for a pedestrian bridge across K-10. City officials had been attempting to obtain a grant for building the bridge that would span the highway from Elm Street on the north side and terminate near the Eudora Animal Hospital on the south side of the highway. The cost of the bridge was estimated to be approximately $1.8 million. The grant would have paid for 80% of the costs of building the bridge with the city picking up the remaining 20%.
In a letter to city officials, KDOT stated that there was strong competition and received many exceptional applications. KDOT will be funding 37 projects throughout the state of Kansas. 91 applications had been submitted. In a later press release from KDOT, the number of funded projects was revised to 35 at a total cost of $17.9 million.
Some area projects that will be funded by the program this year include a new shared use path connecting the existing Lexington Avenue path to the Community Center in De Soto and an extension of the Burroughs Creek Trail between K-10 and 29th Street in Lawrence.
“I’m definitely disappointed,” Eudora Mayor Ruth Hughs said. “It’s a safety issue for the students in our community. I felt that this was an opportunity to make a safer connection to the Middle and High Schools for our students who live north of the highway.”
City officials had hoped to connect the bridge to the walking trail currently under construction that leads from the schools over to 20th street and terminates near the businesses located to the west of Church Street.
Local residents had also gotten behind the project as well. Many citizens had been asked to write letters of support for the project, several information meetings were held and videos of residents in favor of the project were sent to KDOT in the hopes of swaying them into funding the bridge.
Interim City Manager Mike Press told the City Commission on Monday night that while the city was not awarded the grant, his sources said it was not because of anything the city did.
“KDOT was highly impressed with our application and presentations,” Press told the Commission. “It simply came down to only a certain amount of money available to award.”
While the project will not be funded at this time, there is still hope in the future. KDOT stated that while the dates for the next application round have not yet been determined, city officials would be well informed of the timeline for the process.