Salina to receive federal RAISE funds to replace 7 bridges

Today, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded $46.9 million to support two projects in Kansas from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to help move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and make our transportation systems safer, more accessible, more affordable, and more sustainable. Included is a project in Salina.

This year’s total allocations nationwide include more than $2.2 billion thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides an additional $7.5 billion over five years for the program to help meet the strong demand to help projects get moving across the country.

“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable,” Buttigieg said. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we are supporting more projects than ever before.”

Projects were evaluated on several criteria, including safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, partnership and collaboration, innovation, state of good repair, and mobility and community connectivity. Within these areas, the Department considered how projects will improve accessibility for all travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth – especially in historically disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty.

In Kansas, the following projects will benefit from RAISE awards:

Old Smoky Hill River Bridge Replacement – The City of Salina will receive $22.1 million to replace seven bridges over the Old Smoky Hill River, construct approximately 3.4 miles of multi-use accessible trails, improve seven pedestrian crossings, improve three railroad-pedestrian crossings, and install trail lighting. In addition, the project will construct a new, multi-modal hub, three pedestrian bridges, two new electric vehicle charging stations, a pedestrian underpass, a pedestrian boardwalk, and five new recreational boat launches. The new bridges will improve mobility, reduce congestion, and reconnect the City of Salina’s underserved, neighborhoods to recreational features. The project also upgrades river channel culverts that are currently prone to flooding.

Flint Hills Trail: Connecting Communities, Cultures, and Landscapes – The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks will receive $24.8 to construct approximately 40-miles of the Flint Hills Trail in Kansas, nearly completing this 118-mile linear park “rail-trail.” The project includes drainage improvements, pipes, culverts, bridges, base improvements, limestone surfacing, fences, gates, bollards, safety improvements and signage. The trail will offer an alternative to driving as well as provide outdoor recreation opportunities in a rural area that is currently fragmented with very few public outdoor recreational areas. There is also opportunity for the project to boost recreation and nature tourism, as evidenced by establishment of ten new businesses related to the trail in the past three years. Planning efforts have considered inputs from the communities being served through four workshops, and the trail will use inclusive interpretative signage and storytelling strategies that portray history and respect the Kaw Nation.

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