Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reminder: Speed Limit Enforcement Blitz this weekend

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Transportation has partnered with law enforcement agencies across the state to launch a tough new speed enforcement blitz statewide. The intensified enforcement effort against speeding drivers underscores the severity of the problem in cities and towns across Kansas.
“Speeding greatly reduces a driver’s reaction time,” said Chris Bortz, KDOT Traffic Safety Program Manager. “A speeding driver puts everyone on the road at a greater risk of a crash.”
On average in Kansas, 25 percent of fatal crashes are speed-related. Nationwide, speeding was a contributing factor in 27 percent of all fatal crashes, leading to more than 9,500 deaths, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
During campaign from July 21-23, officers will intensify enforcement of posted speed limits on Kansas roads, highways and interstates, targeting and ticketing speeding drivers.
“We’ll stop and cite anyone caught speeding—especially in construction zones and on interstates—where most of our speed-related crashes occur,” said Lt. Adam Winters with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
As speed increases, the severity of crashes increases, leading to a rise in fatalities and/or serious injuries. According to NHTSA, a crash on a road with a posted speed limit of 65 miles per hour or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 miles per hour, and nearly five times as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 miles per hour or below.

“On the drive to zero fatalities, you are in the driver’s seat,” Bortz said.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: Bridge Repairs on K-196 in Butler County

Work is underway on K-196 to upgrade and replace bridges in Butler County. 
On Feb. 27, the Kansas Department of Transportation began to upgrade/replace Dry Creek Bridge, Whitewater River Bridge and Diamond Creek on K-196 in Butler County. The bridges are located between Northwest Diamond Road/K-196 Intersection and Northwest Tawakoni Road/K-196 Intersection between the City of Potwin and the City of Whitewater.

All three original bridges have been torn down and pouring of the bridge deck for the eastern bridge began last week. 
Currently, all three original bridges have been torn down and removed. Project grading and seeding has been completed on each of the bridges and crews are focusing construction efforts from the east bridge to the western bridges. Pouring of the bridge deck for the eastern bridge began last week. On the western bridges, the contractor is driving piles and working on pier construction. Despite the early spring rains, the bridge replacement project is still scheduled to be completed and reopen the highway to unrestricted traffic by late November 2017, depending on delays due to adverse weather conditions.

The bridge replacement project is expected to be be completed and reopen to traffic by late November 2017.

 Until the highway is reopened, through traffic will continued to be affected by the bridge replacement project with the closure of K-196 and will be routed on an official state detour which will direct traffic through K-254 to I-135 instead of K-196.

King Construction Company from Hesston is the prime contractor for this $2,726,000 project, which is funded by T-WORKS, the transportation program passed by the Kansas Legislature.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

100 Deadliest Days

Summer may be halfway over, but there are still more than 50 days left of the most dangerous time of year for new teen drivers, ages 16-17.

As we enter the mid-point for the what American Automobile Association of Kansas (AAA Kansas) calls the “100 deadliest Days,” the Kansas Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers of all ages that fatal teen crashes are on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) in 2015, the number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes increased by more than 10 percent from the previous year.

One of the starkest nationwide trends that AAA Kansas found was new teen drivers are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a crash.

KDOT’s crash data says that drivers between the ages of 15-19 years old were involved in 11,348 crashes in 2015. Of those crashes, there were 2,732 injuries and 40 teen casualties.
According to AAA, three main factors contribute to these crashes:

Distracted Driving: Not paying attention to the road ahead is a huge contributing factor in teen crashes. According to AAA, 6 out of 10 crashes were the result of distracted driving.  The main distractions for teen drivers are talking with friends and using their cell phones while driving.

Not Using a Seat Belt: Teens who use their seatbelts are more likely to reduce their risk of being seriously injured or dying in a car crash. According to the latest data, 60 percent of teens who were killed in a car crash were not buckled up.

Speeding: Driving over the speed limit was a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal teen crashes.

There are many ways that we can encourage inexperienced drivers to travel safely.

Talk about safe driving: Simply talking about how to stay safe behind the wheel can be one of the best ways to ensure a young driver remembers key safety tips.

Lead by example: Drivers of all ages should remember that they are being observed by teens and kids who will one day take to the road in vehicles of their own. Experienced drivers should minimize risky behavior while driving, so novice drivers can learn what being safe behind the wheel looks like. Parents or guardians, create a parent-teen driving agreement like this one from AAA Kansas, that sets family rules for teen drivers.

If every driver practiced safe driving skills while behind the wheel, the 100 Deadliest Days could be the 100 Safest Days for teen drivers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Motoring Mondays: Cow Chip Throwing Capital, Russell Springs

Since 1955, Russell Springs has featured an annual cow chip throwing competition. Competitors from around the state gather to take part in the contest, which includes men’s, women’s and junior’s classes as well as politicians and VIP classes.

The event is part of the community’s Old Settlers’ Day celebration that also includes a parade and a junior rodeo.

  The Cow Chip Throwing Contest happens annually on Labor Day Weekend.

Participant in the Cow Chip Throwing Contest in Russell Springs

Winners of a previous Cow Chip Throwing Contest

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: Rebuilding after the fire

The grass has grown back, but the guard rail posts that
were burned in the fires are missing.
In March wildfires burned more than 400,000 acres in Clark County, killing livestock, destroying homes and threatening the community of Ashland. KDOT crews pitched in, closing roads and helping wherever they could.  Today, almost four months later, fences have been repaired, signs replaced, wheat cut and pastures are green again.

 Much still remains to be done, though, including guard rail replacement and repair in 17 different locations along K-34 and U.S. 160 in Clark County.  Many of the treated wood posts holding the guard rail were more than 30 years old and they burned quickly, leaving guard rails literally hanging by a bolt or two.  Some of the locations require guard rail replacement or repair on just one side of the road, but many require replacement on both sides.

 Collins & Hermann of St. Louis, Mo., is the contractor on this $325,000 project. 

Above and below, work is underway to replace the guard rail and the posts.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Emergencies happen: How to stay safe on the side of the road

During these busy summer months, you may encounter a stranded motorist on the side on the road or experience a disabled vehicle yourself. Blown tires and engine troubles are a fact of life while traveling. If you find yourself in either of these situations, the Kansas Highway Patrol has some tips to keep you safe.

If you experience a road side emergency and need to pull over do the following:

• Park your vehicle as far off the busy roadway as possible.

• Turn on your four-way emergency flashers (hazard lights).

• Stay in your vehicle until help arrives, especially at night or in inclement weather.

• If someone stops, crack your window and ask them to phone the police for assistance.

• If you must leave your vehicle along the highway, notify the police, sheriff or KHP of its location and the circumstances.

Remember, one of the best ways to prevent a roadside emergency is to maintain up-to-date maintenance on your vehicle.

What to do if you see someone who has a disabled car on the side of the road.

According to KHP, your personal safety is of utmost importance. If you see a stranded motorist on the roadside, do not stop your vehicle.

Instead, it is recommended that you call the KHP, or if you are traveling on the Kansas Turnpike, the Kansas Turnpike Authority and explain to them where you saw the stranded motorist. Here are the numbers below:

*47 to reach the Kansas Highway Patrol
*KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike

If you don’t have a phone, proceed to the next gas station or rest area to reach the numbers above.

If the vehicle’s emergency flashers are on, give them room. Slow down or move over if you can to avoid injuring the motorist or crashing into their stalled vehicle.

Visit the KHP’s Motor Assist Program to learn more about staying safe in a roadside emergency.

Want to know if your travel plans will be impacted by a crash or highway construction? Visit for Kansas Highway Conditions.

Share your roadside emergency stories with us in the comments. How did you stay safe?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Motoring Mondays: The Kansas Firefighters Museum & Memorial

Kansas Firefighter Museum & Memorial located in Wichita - Courtesy Photo
     The Kansas Firefighters Museum & Memorial is located in Wichita and was created for the purpose of honoring the legacy of Kansas firefighters.
     It is also dedicated to bringing awareness to firefighter history and offering opportunities for people to participate in a program on staying safe in case of emergencies.
     The Firefighters Museum was the original old Engine House No. 6, the last station to operate using horse drawn stations in 1917. It was refurbished into a museum in 1993.
     The museum is also home to the state firefighter memorial, Kansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial, dedicated to honoring the memory of Kansas firefighters who died in the line of duty.
     The museum is open Saturdays from 11 a.m., to 3 p.m. or by appointment.
To schedule your visit today or learn more this museum, visit Kansas Firefighters Museum.