Monday, August 3, 2015

Motoring Monday: Ice Age Monument

The oldest rocks in Kansas can be found in Blue Rapids – Sioux quartzite was formed more than 1.5 billion years ago in Minnesota, then was brought here when the Ice Age glaciers melted 10,000 years ago.

These melting glaciers left quartzite, limestone and vegetation along the way and sculpted the terrain to form the current waterways and rounded ridges of the northern edge of the Flint Hills.

The Ice Age Monument in Blue Rapids was dedicated in May 2012 to honor this geological heritage. The monument is located on the Round Town Square and includes an information kiosk, pylons with inscriptions, Sioux quartzite boulders and night time lighting. Learn more about the monument here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The artful interchange

Photographer Peter Andrew proves in a series of remarkable photos posted on that an interchange is as much form as it is function.  Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A few tips for understanding construction lingo

Hot summer days can only mean one thing at KDOT: road construction season is in full swing.

The KDOT construction season generally runs from March to November, when the weather is most favorable for road work. With a full slate of projects planned for 2015, crews are busy repairing, reconstructing and restoring roadways this season across the Sunflower State.

Most KDOT projects focus on preservation of the current road surface and range from light resurfacing to full reconstruction. The most common construction activities include:

Chip seals: As the name implies, chip seals involve spreading asphalt on the current road surface, followed by a layer of chipped rock that is compacted into place by heavy rollers.

Crack seals: Excessive moisture and debris can damage pavement, so KDOT utilizes crack seals to provide a temporary fix to the roadway until it can be completely repaired. The premise is simple: workers fill cracks with an asphalt-like sealer to help smooth out the surface.

Mill and overlay: These comprise the majority of KDOT’s construction activities. First, a section of the roadway is ground, or milled, off and removed. It is then replaced with an asphalt overlay using some of the material that was milled off. Asphalt is the most commonly recycled product in the United States and what isn’t recycled during construction is often used on other projects.

Surface recycle: Here’s another example of asphalt recycling. A truck-mounted heater softens and removes the top layer of pavement, which is then mixed with a rejuvenating agent and reapplied – all in one pass. Finally, the recycled pavement is topped with a thin asphalt overlay or chip seal to complete the project.

Next time you’re passing through a construction zone, remember this list and see if you can identify what kind of project is being done. And, as always, slow down and “Give ‘em a Brake!”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Motoring Monday: Sandsage Bison Range Wildlife Area

Just southwest of Garden City, the Sandsage Bison Range Wildlife Area is home to the oldest publicly owned bison herd in Kansas – bison have been there since the 1920s. The range was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson – it was formerly part of the Kansas National Forest.

The range preserves more than 3,700 acres of Sandsage Prairie, home to mule deer, black-tailed prairie dogs and western meadowlarks in addition to the bison. The bison herd has continued to grow, with tours and other activities now available such as wildflower walks, guided bison tours and other educational events.

Learn more about the range at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Here is construction of a turnpike overpass on US-50 west of Emporia.  Can you name the year?  Hint: If you want go back there, you might need to call Doc Brown.  Give us your guess in the comments below.