Governor Jeff Colyer visited Crawford County recently to deliver some welcome news — that the oft-delayed Highway 69 widening project would finally, _finally_ be completed.

This was, of course, before he lost a narrow primary election to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

That promise is now — tenuous — at best.

The problem is that upgrading Highway 69 to four lane at least to the Cherokee County line is, and should be, a priority to Southeast Kansans — particularly to Crawford County residents.

It is a safety issue, first and foremost — the recent fatality accident south of Pittsburg was far from the first along the stretch from the city limits and the county line, and it’s hardly likely to be the last.

Highway 69 is the main artery for residents who live outside of Pittsburg but work in town, and the volume of traffic it carries often overstrains the capability of the road — and that leaves aside the hundreds of college students from Kansas City who attend school here, but often go home on weekends.Pittsburg State University is the only major four-year school in the state on a two-lane highway.

It is also an economic development issue. The bottleneck imposed by the highway means many companies which might otherwise consider locating here will not because their ability to deliver goods or receive supplies is hampered by the lack of easy access to metro areas.

We do not and will not make endorsements in the governor’s race.

We do, however, call on Democratic candidate Laura Kelly, Republican candidate Kobach and independent candidate Greg Orman to immediately pledge to keep Colyer’s commitment to finish the highway. We ask them to let this not be yet one more election-season promise broken for political expediency.

We also say no one in Crawford County — indeed in Southeast Kansas — should vote for any candidate who will not pledge to finish this vital project.