City breaks ground on Kansas Lane Extension

Maggie Eubanks, News Editor

The city of Monroe broke ground on the Kansas Lane Extension project last Tuesday. Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis said this groundbreaking marks the beginning of the first of four phases that will lengthen Kansas Lane by more than two miles. 

This first phase of the project will connect Highway 165 to Old Sterlington Road.

The project was first proposed in 1975 but is now only getting started due to the amount of time it took to garner the funding. According to the Monroe Transportation Department, the extension will cost over $40 million. The majority of the funding came through federal grants.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards attended the groundbreaking and noted the importance of this project for Monroe and the entire state. According to him, getting this extension built is more important now than it was in 1975. 

“You also have ULM that’s going to benefit from this,” Edwards said. “The airport is going to benefit from this. You now have VCOM. So much has happened over the decades. This project is actually more important than it was way back then.”

The remaining phases will be completed in the next two years. 

“Phase two, that we hope to put out in the fall, will connect Kansas Lane next to the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home through the Cypress Point community,” Ellis said. “Ultimately, phase three, 2025, late 2024, will connect both of those through the community behind me.”

The project will benefit Monroe in more ways than one. According to the DOTD, roadway conditions in the area were rated at a Level of Service F. This grade means that the roads are too congested, causing more crashes and slower response times for emergency vehicles.

Once all phases of the Kansas Lane Extension are complete, Ellis said the city hopes to cut down on these congestion numbers and raise living conditions for Monroe residents. 

The extension will also help connect the Monroe community to the rest of the state by giving an alternate and faster route to Interstate 20 and Highway 165. 

According to the DOTD, Monroe residents will not be affected by construction work on the extension.