NEWTON, Kan. — A large portion of old U.S. Highway 81 is getting a major facelift in Harvey County. The Harvey County Commission has approved an improvement project for Hesston Road, the most-traveled road maintained by the county.
The commission awarded the project to Pearson Construction with a total bid cost of $3,613,019.41, pending engineer’s review. Pearson’s bid was the lowest of three bids submitted. The proposed design was completed by MKEC, the engineering firm for the county.
The project is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2022.
The project includes road resurfacing of Hesston Road from the Newton city limit to the Harvey County line at Northwest 108th Street. Also included is the addition of paved three-foot-wide shoulders. At 22 feet, Hesston Road is currently the narrowest pavement maintained by the county while also the most-heavily traveled.
“Our expectation is this project will result in greater safety for the traveling public and also reduce the current level of necessary maintenance,” Harvey County Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Meier said. “The inclusion of full-depth expansion joints will go a long way in eliminating the dangerous pavement buckling experienced in the summer months and the addition of shoulders will eliminate pavement edge drop-offs.”
Previously, the most recent pavement surfacing on the road was an aggregate seal completed in 2011, with general maintenance continuing since.
Hesston Road is anticipated to be closed in increments during the resurfacing project. Residents along Hesston Road will have continued access to their property throughout the process.
The county will finance the project through multiple funding sources. The road and bridge budget includes $2,005,000 earmarked for Hesston Road. Remaining costs may be paid through American Rescue Plan Act funding, the county’s general fund reserves, and the issuance of bonds, if needed.