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U.S. 50 Project in Hutchinson, Kan., to Provide $132M Economic Impact

Fri March 30, 2012 - Midwest Edition
Jennifer Rupp


In attendance for the groundbreaking of the U.S.-50 four-lane expansion project in Hutchinson (L-R) are Dave Kerr, president of the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce; KDOT Secretary Deb Miller; Nick Dondlinger, vice president of Dondlinger & Sons Constructio
In attendance for the groundbreaking of the U.S.-50 four-lane expansion project in Hutchinson (L-R) are Dave Kerr, president of the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce; KDOT Secretary Deb Miller; Nick Dondlinger, vice president of Dondlinger & Sons Constructio
In attendance for the groundbreaking of the U.S.-50 four-lane expansion project in Hutchinson (L-R) are Dave Kerr, president of the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce; KDOT Secretary Deb Miller; Nick Dondlinger, vice president of Dondlinger & Sons Constructio Crews were working 24 hours a day, six days a week on earthmoving and compaction operations in January and February of this year.

Every state in the United States has the goal to make the most of its transportation dollar. Many states develop special programs designed to maximize their funding and provide economic stimulation, while improving their roadways. In Kansas, the program is called T-WORKS (Transportation Works for Kansas).

T-WORKS is a 10-year, $8 billion transportation program designed to create jobs, preserve highway infrastructure and provide multimodal economic development opportunities across the state.

As part of this program, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) declared that economic impact analysis will be used as a factor in selecting highway expansion or modernization projects. In a press release, KDOT stated that “Kansans made it clear they want transportation investments to be linked to the economic priorities of the state.” Using economic analysis helps ensure that Kansas gets the best return on its transportation investment.

Through the use of a program called TREDIS, it was determined that the economic impact of the U.S. 50 expansion project in Hutchinson will be $132 million. TREDIS estimates the number of long-term jobs, increase in Gross Regional Product, added safety benefits and income growth that would result from an expansion project. TREDIS relies on county-level economic data about employment patterns, business activity and freight movements by type, amount and value to calculate a score.

One of the many factors in choosing this stretch of roadway for improvements was the community concerns about safety, including the high amount of truck traffic and congestion in general. This project will reduce the existing curve on U.S. 50 and replace the traffic signals with two interchanges. These improvements will move traffic more safely and efficiently through the area.

In addition to its safety benefits, the project will enhance access to the Salt City Industrial Park — home to the Siemen’s wind energy nacelle plant — and the medical / commercial concentration on the city’s east side. It also will better accommodate the large amount of traffic coming into Hutchinson for the Kansas State Fair.

The $46 million contract was awarded to Dondlinger & Sons Construction of Wichita in June 2011. Work includes extending the four lanes of U.S. 50 to just east of Airport/Yoder Road in Reno County. There will be new interchanges at K-61 and Airport/Yoder Road, and it will reduce the sharpness of a curve south of the city.

Dondlinger is self-performing all dirt/subgrade work and construction of bridges 139, 140, 142 and 143. King Construction Company of Hesston was subcontracted for the construction of bridges 019, 141, 144,145, and 146.

Other subcontractors include Cornejo and Sons Construction of Wichita for base and concrete pavement; Cillessen & Sons Inc., also based in Wichita, for traffic control and signing, and Elkhorn Fence Company, headquartered in Valley, Neb., for fencing. RFB Construction of Pittsburg, Kan., was hired for erosion control, and Hutchinson’s own Garber Surveying Service P.A. performed the surveys.

The U.S. 50 project will use approximately 5,520 cu. yds. (4,220.6 cu m) of concrete for bridges and 68,874 cu. yds. (52,661 cu m) of concrete for mainline pavement, for a grand total of 74,394 cu. yds. (56,881.7 cu m). In addition, 20,256 tons (18,372 t) of asphalt will be used.

Dondlinger’s arsenal of equipment on the job site includes a Link-Belt LS 138H crane, a Volvo EC 210C excavator, a Cat 345D excavator, a Cat 938G wheel loader, a Delmag 1632 pile-driving hammer, a Cat 637G scraper, and a Komatsu 65WX dozer.

Work on the U.S. 50 project is slated to be complete in late 2013.

“The Highway 50 corridor is a vital connecting link for economic development in our region,” said Hutchinson City Manager John Deardroff.

“We are fortunate to have leadership in all levels of government throughout our state who understand the significant role a good highway system plays in our ability to compete for economic development.”