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Kansas Lane Connector project still in design phase



MONROE, La. – The Monroe City Council this week signed off on another step toward the completion of the $36-million Kansas Lane Connector, which entails the construction of a thoroughfare linking Interstate 20 with U.S. Hwy 80 and U.S. Hwy 165.

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the City Council authorized Stacey Rowell, the city’s director of administration, to execute a railroad engineering agreement with Kansas City Southern Railway Company. Under the agreement, the city would collaborate with Kansas City Southern to design the railroad crossing for the Kansas Lane-Garrett Road Connector project.

The Kansas Lane Connector project has been in development for some 25 years. The project involves the construction of a two-mile, four-lane highway linking U.S. Hwy 80—through Kansas Lane—with U.S. Hwy 165. The project also includes the construction of a Kansas Lane-Garrett Road connector to make interstate access easier.

According to Jim Ellingburg, project engineer with Lazenby and Associates LLC, the project remains in the planning phases.

“We’re still in the planning phases,” Ellingburg said. “This agreement and the agreement from two weeks ago allows the railroad to start incurring costs for their review of our plans, to see how it’s going to affect their facilities.”

Ellingburg said it was unknown when the project might be let, or advertised, for bids.

Lazenby and Associates, a West Monroe engineering firm, was hired by the state Department of Transportation and Development to prepare the project’s plans, according to Ellingburg.

“DOTD is actually going to be one in charge of inspecting it,” Ellingburg said.

In other news, the city of Monroe was awarded a $100,000 grant from Entergy’s Open Grant Program for the purpose of improving local facilities in the community.

The City Council adopted a resolution authorizing Mayor Friday Ellis to accept the $100,000 grant.

The grant program focuses on areas of arts and culture, education and workforce development, poverty solutions and services, healthy families and community improvement.

The $100,000 grant could be used by the city for electrical improvements at the G.B. Cooley House, renovations to the Harvey H. Benoit Community Center and beautification activities in Monroe’s downtown and historic district, according to city documents.