KDOT approves loan agreement for Willard Bridge

TOPEKA (KSNT) – An agreement authorizing a state loan to Shawnee County to help pay for a new Willard Bridge was signed Friday by Kansas Transportation Secretary Jerry Younger.

The agreement, signed during an event near the bridge, authorizes a loan of up to $8.5 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation to the county. The interest-free loan, which is to be repaid in annual installments of $850,000, will be combined with countywide sales tax revenues, $900,000 from Wabaunsee County and other funds to cover the costs of the $16 million replacement project.

The Willard Bridge, which was built in 1955, spans the Kansas River between Shawnee and Wabaunsee counties. It is structurally deficient and has a posted weight limit that restricts school buses and other heavy vehicles from crossing over it.

Younger said KDOT recognizes this is an important connection between I-70, western Shawnee County and Wabuansee County.

“This is a great example of a partnership between KDOT and local governments to improve the public transportation system.”

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