Thursday, July 28, 2016

July KDOT letting set to repair and upgrade a variety of projects

A dynamic message informs drivers about expected travel times to various streets in Johnson County.
Several milling, overlay, lighting and bridge repair projects are part of KDOT’s July letting that was recently approved.
Also included is a project to upgrade eight trusses for Dynamic Message Signs for Kansas City Scout throughout the metro area. Capital Electric Line Builders Inc. of Riverside, Mo., is the prime contractor on the $1.02 million project.

To see all of the projects approved in the July KDOT letting, click here. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

KDOT road preservation in full swing

A section of I-70 in NW Kansas before preservation work was done. 
Preserving Kansas roads, ranked among the top five states in America, is a priority at KDOT.
The right maintenance at the right time—whether it’s chip sealing, crack sealing, asphalt overlay, resurfacing or patching—helps extend the life of the pavement for many years and protects the investment we have made in our Kansas highways.
The same section of road following preservation work completed. 
In fiscal year 2016, over 700 miles of preservation work occurred. Under current KDOT budgeting, preservation is projected to increase to 1,000 miles in fiscal year 2017 and 1,200 miles in fiscal year 2018.
One-hundred bridges were estimated to be repaired or replaced in fiscal year 2016, but by the end of the year, 117 projects were completed. In fiscal year 2017, 160 bridges are scheduled for work under current KDOT budgeting.
 “Orange barrels are blanketing Kansas roadways as KDOT continues to provide one of the best transportation systems in the nation,” Interim Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson said. “Preservation is an essential element of KDOT and is a proactive approach to meeting the transportation needs of our state.”

This fiscal year, KDOT will spend two times more on preservation projects than the year Governor Brownback took office. Expansion and enhancement projects will jump over $10 million during the same period, while modernization projects will increase by nearly $10 million.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Motoring Monday: Banner Creek Science Center and Observatory

The Banner Creek Science Center and Observatory encourages people to come for the stars, stay for the science. The center offers astronomy and science classes and seminars designed to, “ignite curiosity, stimulate interest and make learning fun.” The public is also invited to look through one of several observatory telescopes or enjoy clear-sky viewing outdoors with portable reflector telescopes. It is located about two miles southwest of Holton.
It was originally known as the Elk Creek Observatory and was founded in 2000. It became the only high school-owned observatory in the world. USD 336 assisted with the funding for the building, which was designed and built by a woodworking class.
The goal is to develop a full-time, low-cost curriculum for students of the schools, colleges and universities in the area, as well as informative mini-seminars for children and adults.
For more information or to schedule a visit, go to

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Waste not, want not

Is pig poop the future of pavement?

We have all heard the story of the three little pigs. That third little pig was an engineering pro who stopped the Big Bad Wolf from blowing his house down. That was a great story, but what pigs could do for the future of transportation is no fairy tale.

Although still in the testing stage, students at North Carolina A&T State University and the National Science Foundation have teamed up to explore the possibilities of using pig manure as a binder, or bio-adhesive, for an asphalt substitute. Currently, asphalt requires petroleum, which is a fossil fuel and cannot be replenished as quickly. 

With asphalt created with bio-adhesives, the opposite is true.  According to a video produced by the NSF, 43 billion pounds of swine manure is generated in one year. In fact, some places in the world have so much pig waste that their water supplies are being contaminated.  At 56 cents per gallon this renewable resource could pave the road for a more environmentally and financially-sound solution to fossil fuel dependency. 

It’s not just the transportation industry that could benefit from successful bio-adhesive roads; the farming industry around the world would still be able to use the leftovers from the manufacturing process as fertilizer.

Think this idea is full of it? Check out The National Science Foundation’s video for a closer look at how the process is being tested. And tell us what you think. Would you be willing to travel down a road made from pig poop?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

#WZW Reconstructing an intersection in Girard

A section of the new sidewalk in Girard. 
A geometric improvement project is underway to reconstruct the K-47/K-7 intersection in Girard. Among the improvements will be the installation of new electrical conduit, new storm sewer and water lines, parking lot repairs, and the construction of new sidewalk along the high school. K-47 has been closed to through traffic at the intersection. Overland trucks are following a detour set up on state highways, and all other vehicles use a detour signed on Girard city streets. K-7 remains open to one-lane traffic controlled by signals.
One-lane K-7 traffic through the intersection.  

The GI project is expected to be finished in September by Amino Brothers Co., Inc., of Kansas City, Kan. GI projects are part of the state highway system located within city limits and the projects are designed to improve intersections and address road deficiencies. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Motoring Monday: KSDS Assistance Dogs

A litter of puppies take a nap
KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc., in the town of Washington, provides highly-trained canine assistance and support to people who are visually impaired or physically disabled. They also provide facility dogs for professionals who need canine assistance in their respective fields. The group is celebrating 25 years of service and has placed more than 500 assistance teams.
When KSDS puppies are eight weeks old, volunteer puppy raisers socialize the puppies and teach them 30 to 40 commands. By taking the puppies into their communities – to workplaces, churches, stores, restaurants, sporting events, music concerts and more – the puppies learn basic obedience and house and public manners.
When the puppies are 16 to 24 months old, they return to KSDS for advanced training to decide whether the dog would perform better with a guide, service or facility partner. A dog typically is two to three years old when paired with a partner.
Volunteers are needed to raise/play with the puppies as well as assistance from painters, carpenters, plumbers, yard work, etc.
Tours of the campus are available by appointment – 785-325-2256
Learn more,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

When's the time to play?

Think before you throw: 

The unforeseen challenges of 'Pokemon Go!'

KDOT would like to remind all Pokemon trainers to stay alert and safe. Always be aware of your surroundings. 
Illustration by Mallory Goeke
Fans of the Pokemon franchise have heard the phrase “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” for nearly 20 years and now, they too, can begin their journey to catch and train over 100 different types of this animated monsters. For the past week, Pokemon trainers of all ages have been playing a brand new game released by Niantic and The Pokemon Company called “Pokemon Go.”

Using GPS on a smart phone, the game leads players on a journey around their communities to actually search for and find these powerful creatures. The game creators encourage taking long walks and interacting with others to catch, train and eventually battle on their quest.

While this game has brought many benefits to its players, such as encouraging them to get off the couch and go outside, exercise and explore. It has also created a new cause of distracted driving. 

Law enforcement across the country are cautioning players to wait to play the game when they are not behind a wheel. They are also encouraging players to not walk and play at the same time, as this can result in unsafe situations.

As exciting as this game is for many players, we would like to remind you to play it smart and safe. Your Pokemon will thank you for it.