The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), area officials, contractors and community members celebrated the opening of the new 15-mile K-14 section with a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning, June 14, 2023, under the Nickerson Road overpass of the new K-14. After the ribbon cutting, the K-14 section was opened to traffic. The 15-mile section of the K-14 realignment is located in Reno and Rice counties, connecting Hutchinson to Nickerson and Sterling.
Speakers at the event were KDOT Acting Secretary Calvin Reed, Nickerson Mayor Peggy Ruebke, Sterling Mayor Bob Boltz, Hutchinson Mayor Jon Richardson, Reno County Commission Chairman Daniel Friesen, and Rice County Commission Chairman Clay Thomas at the new Nickerson K-14 interchange.
Reed said, “In Reno County, the seven-mile project includes five bridges, and 24 re-enforced concrete boxes. Earthwork involved nearly two and a quarter million cubic yards of fill and more than 100,000 tons of asphalt. K-14 in Rice County is about eight miles in length and required construction of six bridges, 19 re-enforced concrete boxes and a similar amount of fill and asphalt as in Reno County.”
“The result is a 15-mile, two-lane asphalt freeway with eight-foot paved shoulders and with rights-of-way secure to accommodate expansion to four-lanes in the future. The total cost of the project was over $82 million,” said Reed.
Daniel Friesen, Reno County Commission Chairman, said that he wanted to thank everyone for their great work. "I know it’s a huge undertaking. I build virtual roads for a living; I build broadband services and I understand how challenging building roads are, how expensive they are and how many people are involved in this and so I can’t say thank you enough to everyone involved,” said Friesen.
The realignment replaced one that was designed around 1919 where the highway goes west out of Nickerson. The new alignment offers quicker highway travel because motorists will no longer have to pass through Nickerson and Sterling, and the speed limit will be 70 mph. There will be interchanges at each city for motorists who want to drive into the towns, according to KDOT.