Monday, May 2, 2016


ICYMI: Willard Bridge loan agreement officially approved 




       An agreement authorizing a state loan to Shawnee County to help pay for a new Willard Bridge was signed today by Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King.

      The agreement, signed during an event near the bridge, authorizes a loan of up to $8.5 million from the Kansas Department of Transportation to the county. The interest-free loan, which is to be repaid in annual installments of $850,000, will be combined with countywide sales tax revenues, $900,000 from Wabaunsee County and other funds to cover the costs of the $16 million replacement project.
Willard Bridge, left, and the pier construction that is underway.

       The Willard Bridge, which was built in 1955, spans the Kansas River between Shawnee and Wabaunsee counties. It is structurally deficient and has a posted weight limit that restricts school buses and other heavy vehicles from crossing over it. “KDOT recognizes this is an important connection between I-70, western Shawnee County and Wabaunsee County,” said Secretary King. “This is a great example of a partnership between KDOT and local governments to improve the public transportation system.”

Thursday, April 21, 2016

ICYMI: People Saving People recipients announced


Four people and one group are receiving the state’s 2016 People Saving People Award today for their efforts to improve traffic safety as part of the 22nd Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Topeka. 

This year’s award recipients are:
Karen Wittman, Kansas Attorney General’s Office—Wittman is the traffic safety resource prosecutor for the State of Kansas.  Wittman teaches classes, prosecutes cases, meets with other impaired driving prevention professionals and coordinates with law enforcement and traffic safety resource prosecutors across the country. In addition she teaches “boot camps” that provide new prosecutors with the basics and resources for prosecuting impaired drivers. 

Norraine Wingfield, Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office— Wingfield has worked for the last 10 years to reduce traffic safety injuries and fatalities in Kansas with KTSRO. She has also served on the National Child Passenger Safety Board and the AARP Board of Directors, and spoke at Lifesavers and Kidz in Motion conferences.  

Brown County Sheriff’s Office: Teen Lifesaver Initiative— The Teen Lifesaver Initiative was started two years ago, and teaches high school students first aid and CPR as well as how to use an Automated External Defibrillator to help those injured in serious crashes. Students from every high school in Brown County have been trained in live-saving measures from the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Horton Police Department and the Brown County Health Department.

Addie Evans and Katelyn Burkhart, Buhler High School—The two students worked on a class project inspired by a friend’s severe injury due to a drunk driver. In their studies the two learned that the trauma caused by the death of a loved one is enough pain, but the trauma that is caused by decision that could have be completely prevented is worse. With that in mind they organized a fundraising walk called March4Sobriety, designed t-shirts, created a GoFundMe page and distributed flyers. All of the money raised for the walk was donated to MADDKS.
 
The People Saving People Award highlights efforts of a person or organization that has a positive effect on transportation safety behavior. The Kansas Department of Transportation sponsors the award along with the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Secrets of Southeast Kansas: Beaumont



A stagecoach stop between Fredonia and Wichita, the community of Beaumont – on U.S. 400 at the Greenwood-Butler county line - was established as a railroad town in 1885 with the arrival of the St. Louis and San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad. An east-west rail line connected St. Louis with Wichita, and a spur route went south to Oklahoma.

The Frisco soon constructed a 50,000-gallon wooden water tower to service the seven trains stopping at Beaumont each day. Beaumont became an overhaul station and major cattle shipping point in the region, complete with a roundhouse, depot and offices. At one time the town also boasted the largest stockyards to have electric lighting, water and scales between Wichita and Springfield, Mo.

By 1950, trucks had taken over the shipping of cattle. Five years later Beaumont bid farewell to its last steam passenger train. Only the Frisco’s wooden water tower remains standing down the street from the Beaumont CafĂ© and Hotel.

And the water tower is a landmark for those who travel to Beaumont by motor vehicle and also in small airplanes. Planes are frequently spotted taxiing onto the grass airstrip  next to the restaurant. Pilots and passengers disembark to dine at the cafe and perhaps stay the night at the hotel, savoring the town’s history and surrounding Flint Hills vistas.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Things that work


KDOT’s District Five Area Superintendent Brad Halseth, of the Great Bend office, explains some of the important changes that have been incorporated over the years to improve work zone safety. Read his story here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Traffic zone safety from the other side of the cones


Today’s safety blogger is Ryan Blosser of Hamm Construction Company. He had a close call in a work zone involving a tanker truck – an experience he will never forget. Read his story here.