Governor Laura Kelly today announced that the Turner Diagonal interchange project on I-70 in Wyandotte County beat 11 states to win the People’s Choice Award in the 2021 America’s Transportation Awards competition.

The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize. Pledges from KDOT transportation-industry partners will boost that amount to more than $30,000. KDOT, in collaboration with the Kansas Board of Regents, will direct the funds towards transportation-related scholarships at Regents’ universities.

“From day one, my administration has prioritized a strategic and innovative approach to delivering much-needed transportation projects that make our roads safer, spur economic growth, and create jobs,” Governor Kelly said. “Winning this prestigious award is proof that the entire country is taking notice of our successes. My administration is committed to making continued improvements to our transportation system for our communities, our businesses, and our economy.” 

Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz accepted the award on behalf of Kansas and KDOT in San Diego at the annual meeting of AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), one of the industry’s most important gatherings of transportation, government and commercial organizations.

The ATA People’s Choice award winner was determined through online votes from the public. The Turner Diagonal Project was among 12 state finalist projects selected from 80 nominations from 35 states. Finalist states included Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah.

The $30.3 million Turner Diagonal project in Kansas City reconfigured the interchange on I-70, allowing the release of nearly 50 acres of right-of-way and opened 300 acres of land for economic development and job creation. Using alternative delivery methods, the project was completed ahead of schedule, opening in less than a year from ground-breaking.

“From the start, the Turner Diagonal project embodied so much of our new IKE transportation program, building on the foundational elements of partnerships, options, and problem solving,” Secretary Lorenz said. “With this project, we have delivered with public sector principles and private sector urgency.”

The Turner Diagonal project made use of public funds from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, KDOT, and a USDOT Build grant, as well as private-sector support. The Kansas Turnpike Authority donated right of way.

Completing the project 20 months faster than traditional delivery months helped create 2,000 new jobs at Turner Logistics Park. Truck staging areas improved truck travel times in the area. Pedestrian paths and sidewalks provided a more sustainable, usable community asset.