Monday, January 13, 2014

Top 10 Accomplishments of 2013

Our New Year’s resolution is to blog more this year. We want to keep you updated on all the latest happenings on transportation in our state and believe this will be an excellent forum to make this happen. Our goal is for this to be an interactive space so please feel free to comment below on ways we can improve this or offer up ideas for new topics.

Since our number 1 goal is not to waste your time, let’s get this blog started. And our first blog of 2014 will be about… the key happenings of 2013. Ironic? Perhaps, but we think it’s important to give you a little background on what all went on last year before we begin telling you stories this year.

We won’t always write so much—in fact, sometimes we’ll just show a photo. We just had more to say today.So without further ado and in no particular order, here are the top 10 key happenings at KDOT in 2013.

1. KDOT & KTA form official partnership. As of July 1, KDOT and the Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) now fall under the same umbrella. Mike King will serve both as KDOT Secretary and KTA director. The move is design to generate savings and improve transportation overall in the state.

2. Kansas Roads ranked #2 by Reason Foundation. The Reason Foundation rated the Kansas highway system the nation’s second best while spending 24 percent less than the U.S. average in per mile disbursements. Kansas ranked number three in Reason’s previous two reports.


3. SLT is underway. After decades of planning, protests and legal wrangling, a contract was awarded in September for construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway. Emery Sapp & Sons of Columbia, Mo. won the contract on bid of $129.8 million, significantly less than the $150 million estimate.

4. Kansas Transportation Summit was held on Sept. 5 in Emporia. The summit, which was the first event hosted jointly by the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike. More than 300 business, community and government leaders discussed how to leverage transportation investments to generate economic growth in the state.

5. Traffic fatalities hit an all-time low. In the past year there were fewer deaths on Kansas roads than in any other year since KDOT began keeping records. In 2013, according to preliminary, unofficial reports there were 344 fatalities, compared to 405 in 2012.

6. Redesign of our website. After 10 years with the same look, KDOT redesigned its website to a more modern look and made it more user- friendly.

7. The first Kansas Aviation Expo was held at the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita, Kansas. The KAE gave the aviation industry the opportunity to discuss the current climate and challenges and to strategize how we can leverage resources to improve services in the future. The event was so successful it will now become an annual event.

8. Major rail project opens for business. The TIGER II project on the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad began service in January 2013. The purpose of the project was to improve train operations efficiencies by replacing rail, ties, improving bridge load ratings and expanding yard facilities in Cherryvale. Through this project, a 27% increase in capacity occurred with there being over 70,000 carloads in 2013 up from 55,000 car loads in 2010.

9. Efforts to regionalized transit reenergized. After a year-long cessation of activity following the departure of the previous consultant group, KDOT held two rounds of statewide meetings with providers to move help move forward with implementing regional transit, which will increase access to public transit and improve services in predominately rural areas across Kansas.

10. Progress continues on state transportation, T-WORKS. As part of the legislation, at least $8 million must be invested in each Kansas County through the 10-years of T-WORKS. To date, 58 counties have received at least $8 million. More than 6,800 miles of highways and over 400 bridges have been improved through T-WORKS so far. Notable T-WORKS projects that were completed in 2013 include the rebuilding of I-70 from the Colorado Border to 12 miles in Kansas and the Homestead Lane Interchange project in Johnson County.

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