Unwanted Construction

By: Paul Aker
By: Paul Aker

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Mark Woleslagle's backyard is about to be run over by Highway 61. The highway is due for expansion. In order to make it a four-lane freeway, officials say they need to reroute part of the highway near residential areas in Hutchinson. Many residents oppose the project. They plan to spend about $200 million.

So far, 300 people have signed a petition to block the construction. Woleslagel and his neighbors say they are upset not just because of where the road will go, but because of how much it will cost taxpayers.

Kansas Department of Transportation officials say if the highway is expanded at its current location, it will affect more homes and disrupt the railroad. They say relocation will cost the same or less, but there have not been any studies to support this claim. Officials say that after years of research, they believe this is the best plan.

K-DOT officials say resistance from the public has caused to them reevaluate the highway 61 plan. They plan to release their findings and more explanations next week, but don't expect any major changes to the plan.

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