A hybrid ribbon-cutting with Gov. Laura Kelly was held Wednesday morning at the new Turner Diagonal I-70 interchange in Kansas City, Kansas.
The new diverging diamond interchange was funded through a $13 million federal grant, which is 46 percent of the project costs, according to a spokesman. The rest of the project costs were funded by the Unified Government, Kansas Department of Transportation and NorthPoint Development.
The new interchange will open 300 acres of land for private development in Kansas City, Kansas, generating more than 2,500 jobs in the area, Gov. Kelly said at the ribbon-cutting.
The central location of Kansas makes the state an obvious choice for logistics centers, according to Gov. Kelly. She said from where they were standing, they could reach 85 percent of the population in the country in a two-day drive.
“We were able to open to traffic over two months earlier than scheduled,” Gov. Kelly said, adding it was good news for more than 65,000 vehicles that drive through the area daily.
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., said this was an opportunity for Kansas to demonstrate that it is vital to this entire country’s infrastructure. She said she had been fighting to make sure this area gets the resources it needs for infrastructure.
Rep. Davids serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House subcommittee on highways and transit. It is important to have a voice on that committee, she said.
“What we need is to make sure we’re providing better access for businesses along the Turner Diagonal,” she said. They will continue to see jobs coming to the area, increased tax revenue for Wyandotte County and the surrounding community, she said.
Ground was broken on Jan. 31 of this year for the interchange project. The design-build Turner Diagonal interchange project shaved 20 months off the usual schedule, according to Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz.
Clarkson Construction was the design-build construction partner, according to a spokesman.
The new interchange is south of 72nd and State Avenue, near Riverview Avenue, in Wyandotte County. The interchange is close to the Amazon warehouse, and new developments are now being constructed in the area. The Turner Diagonal connects the Turner area to northern Wyandotte County, with I-70 intersecting the diagonal.
The new Turner Diagonal area has some sidewalks, pedestrian and bicycle access from Riverview Avenue to State Avenue.
Gov. Kelly and Rep. Davids spoke at the ribbon-cutting in person, along with Kansas Transportation Secretary Lowrenz, while some other dignitaries added video remarks to the ribbon-cutting.
Speaking remotely on video were U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Unified Government Mayor David Alvey and NorthPoint Development Chief Marketing Officer Brent Miles.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Chao said on the video that the project will improve safety, travel time, freight efficiency and economic development.
Mayor Alvey said on the video that it is spurring economic growth. The new Turner Logistics Center is being built now, he said.
“We need this development to grow our tax base, so we can provide more revenues, to provide for more and better services to our neighborhoods and the opportunity to reduce our property taxes,” he said.
Brent Miles of NorthPoint Development said the project opens the opportunity to build an industrial park for Kansas City, Kansas.
“We’re going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars there and create over a thousand jobs,” Miles said.