City Council approves additional funding for Polk-Quincy Viaduct project

The actual replacement of the I-70 Polk-Quincy Viaduct is set begin in Spring of 2025.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 10:29 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With the early stages of the $234 million reconstruction and replacement of I-70 and the Polk-Quincy Viaduct underway, city leaders approved additional funding to relocate utilities on Tuesday.

“I think as everyone knows, the past couple years there’s been a lot of inflation, particularly in labor and materials, and what we don’t want to do with a tight timeline on this project, what we don’t wanna do is put it out to bid and then find out the bids are more than the allotted amount that we have for the project,” said Topeka City Council member Tony Emerson.

With one phase of the project completed, the City is able to take the next steps while still remaining on schedule.

“This was the first step, now that this has been approved, the City will start the process of putting these projects out to bid,” Emerson said.

Some councilmembers though questioned if the utility work will be done by the October 2024 deadline.

“Honestly I’m very concerned. The way KDOT likes to do it and I totally understand their rationale for it, they want to have any utilities prior to letting a project,” said Emerson. “Normally that’s not a big issue, in this case of an urban congested area like this is... this is gonna be an extremely aggressive timeframe to try to get these utilities moved.”

In order to finance the additional funding for the utility relocation, the governing body also authorized the City to issue and sell more than $27 million in revenue bonds.

“When we do a utility project, we have to issue revenue bonds to pay for it, and that’s what we’re doing in this case. But an important point is that rate-payers will not be asked to fund this. This is gonna come from the general fund to repay these,” Emerson said.

Bridge repair work is expected to continue through fall. The actual replacement of the I-70 Polk-Quincy Viaduct is set begin in Spring of 2025.