Tuesday, January 16, 2018

#KDOTTUESDAYS: Linger Longer brings visitors to Bennington

Today's #KDOTTuesday takes on a trip to Bennington where we stop in and enjoy a visit to the Linger Longer.

This authentic soda fountain is one of only a few remaining and visitors will experience a trip back in time when they walk through the doors.

The Linger Longer, located in a 106-year-old building, boasts a beautiful tin ceiling and an antique cash register.  They are still using the same soda fountain and back-bar where they hand mix fountain drinks with spigots and pumps.  

The Linger Longer also has a collection of over 2,000 Dr. Pepper collectibles and antiques, the second largest on display in the world.  There is a game room with pinball, pool, Foosball, and air hockey; and a courtyard with tether ball.  Aptly named, you will want to linger longer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Snow plows: Winter weather fighting machines

A KDOT Snow plow clears snow during a winter storm. There are 591 trucks across the state that can be used to clear snow and ice off roadways. 
Parts of the state may see some winter precipitation this week and KDOT crews are ready to combat inclement weather with some of the strongest winter weather fighting machines around: Snow plows and tow plows. 

KDOT has 591 trucks that can be used to clear snow and ice off of roadways.  Snow plows are a common sight during wintry months. These giant vehicles are essential to traveler safety and for helping commerce continue to move across the the state highway system.

A tow plow is a 26-foot-long, independently-steerable plow that can clear two lanes at a time. 
The tow plow is a 26-foot-long, independently-steerable mounted plow that can move  to the right or left. It allows a single driver to plow two lanes at a time and frees up other crew members who can concentrate on other highways needing snow removalTow plows are big and the truck pulling the tow plow is about the size of a semi-truck. There are seven of these distributed across the state to assist KDOT crews with fighting winter weather and they are located in Goodland, Colby, Hays, Salina, Ottawa, Bonner Springs and Olathe. 

While these tow plows are great for clearing multi-lane roads, do not try to pass them and don't crowd any of the plows as KDOT crews work to clear the roads. 

Check out this video where our talking cone friends, Mike and Earl, meet with a KDOT truck named Sandy to explain how tow plows work:

For road conditions check out www.kandrive.org or dial 511. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

#KDOTTUESDAY: Mine grouting continues on K-7 modernization project

An agitator truck is ready to pump grout through the hoses to the stinger. The grout mix can be pumped directly into the top of the truck at the concrete plant on the project.

The long pipe on the track hoe boom,
called a stinger, pumps grout through
previously drilled holes to fill the 
underground voids and form a 
barrier wall.
Today's #KDOTTUESDAY takes us to southeast Kansas.

Long-abandoned underground mine voids that were part of the Weir-Pittsburg coal bed are being filled as part of the K-7 widening and modernization project in Cherokee County. Crews have been working steadily to pump concrete grout into holes drilled five feet apart along a four-mile section of the project.

 The grouting will create a barrier wall to support the new highway alignment to the west of the centerline.  According to Regional Geologist Denny Martin, the completed barrier wall will convert the mine voids into room-like spaces. These small underground rooms will then be filled with more grouting material.

The entire project includes 11 miles of K-7 from U.S. 160 at Columbus north to U.S. 400 at Cherokee. The roadway is being widened to 44 feet, with 12-foot driving lanes and 10-foot shoulders. The first phases of work started in 2016. 

The mine grouting is part of the final phase of highway reconstruction, from U.S. 160 north to K-102. Koss Construction of Topeka is the primary contractor.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Coats and Car Seats: Keeping your child safe and warm

This winter, whether your family jumps in the car for a drive to the grocery store or to grandma's house, buckling up is one of the best ways to travel safely. It is always a good idea to buckle your child in an age and weight appropriate car seat or booster seat. But during these cold months, it can be hard to tell if your child is fastened in securely while they are wearing heavy winter coats. 

Below is a graphic with some suggestions that can help your entire family be prepared to travel safely and warmly this winter. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

KDOT, KHP urge responsible driving this holiday weekend

This holiday weekend, while you are celebrating the holiday season, whether it is with your family, a night on the town with friends or a small get together at someone’s home, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Highway Patrol would like to remind drivers and passengers to be responsible while enjoying the festivities. Here are some tips to enjoying the holiday responsibly:

  • Never drive or ride with someone who is impaired or drowsy.
  • If you plan to consume alcohol, have a plan in place before you go. Know what you’ll do for a ride home, whether it is a ride service, public transportation, a designated driver or finding a place to stay. If you do consume alcohol:
    • Give someone your keys.
    • Don’t drink to impairment.
    • Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
    • Take the night off and serve as a designated driver for others.
  • Have an emergency kit in your vehicle and your phone charged in case of car trouble.

If you need help on a Kansas highway, call *47 for the Kansas Highway Patrol or call *KTA (*582) for the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Brock named KDOT’s Director of Aviation

Robert Brock has been selected to assume the role of Interim Director of Aviation at the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Brock has been serving KDOT and the State of Kansas while spearheading national aviation efforts as the first state Director for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Chairman of the Kansas UAS Joint Task Force. Under Brock’s direction, the division introduced the first statewide Unmanned Traffic Management to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System.

Prior to joining KDOT, Brock served over 22 years in the Air Force and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. As a military officer, he led both manned and unmanned flight operations. Brock is also an instrument-rated commercial fixed-wing and helicopter instructor pilot.  

“We are so fortunate at KDOT to have such a talented and passionate person like Bob Brock to take over aviation,” said Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson. “After already serving the state and the agency in opening new doors for UAS, Brock is in the best possible position to make great strides for aviation in Kansas.”

Representing Kansas as a national aviation leader on the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee-Task Group Three, Brock will continue to work closely with the FAA and aviation stakeholders across the nation to support Kansas aviation. He will also oversee the Kansas Airport Improvement Program, Unmanned Systems Program, and Science, Technology, and Aviation Resource (STAR) program.

“I look forward to my continued service to KDOT and the State of Kansas,” said Brock. “We will continue to work with legislators, stakeholders, and communities to increase aviation safety and promote the growth of the aviation industry in Kansas.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

#KDOTTUESDAYS: Sharing the road with Semi-Trucks

With more  than 2 million semis on the road every day, it is easy for other drivers to take the semi and the driver for granted.  However, by understanding the challenges that semis and their drivers face, others on the road can drive more defensively and possibly avoid a serious collision.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are nearly 450,000 collisions, approximately 140,000 people are seriously injured and at least 5,000 motorists die as a result of a crash involving a semi or large truck in the U.S. each year.

Because a commercial semi can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and most passenger vehicles weigh 3,000 pounds or less, collisions involving commercial trucks are often the most damaging and dangerous on the roads.  Many drivers believe that because the truck is bigger, the truck is at fault.  However, statistics show that 72 percent of crashes involving semis are the fault of the other vehicle. 

Drivers can minimize the risk of a collision involving a semi by better understanding these vehicles, the challenges semi drivers face and by driving defensively.

Semis have blind spots just like passenger vehicles, but because semis are taller and longer, they have twice as many blind spots. To limit the possibility of a crash, drivers should avoid the blind spot or “no zones,” when sharing the road with semis.

The passenger side of a semi has a much larger blind spot than the driver side. As a result, drivers should pass on the left side of the semi whenever possible and not drive in the blind spot on either side unless passing.  In addition, drivers should allow extra room before cutting back in after passing, to avoid the front blind spot.

Because semis are much larger and heavier than a passenger vehicle it is much more difficult to maneuver, especially in tight situations where quick movements or lane changes are necessary. Their size also makes it impossible to come to a sudden stop. It can take a semi traveling 60 miles per hour almost the length of three football fields to come to a complete stop.  Passenger vehicles should always give the semi plenty of room and respect the semi’s space.

Finally, many trucking companies require speed limiters which limit the top speed at which the semi can travel.  This means the semi may not be able to maintain the same pace as the surrounding traffic.  Drivers should be patient and move around the semi when it is safe to do so.