Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tuesday Trivia

Where does Kansas rank among the states in the number of public road miles?
A) 3rd
B) 13th
C) 33rd
D) 43rd

Kansas comes in at a surprising No. 3 in terms of all public road miles. According to national transportation statistics, Kansas (140,653 miles) ranks behind No. 1 Texas (310,850) and No. 2 California (171,874). Most of Kansas’ public road miles are on local systems. The state highway system, statutorily capped at 10,000 miles, and the Kansas Turnpike carry about 56 percent of all traffic in the state.

So how did Kansas, with a land area that ranks 15th among the states and a population that ranks 34th, get so many road miles? There are probably a number of factors, but one reason is suggested in Milestones, a KDOT history book: the Kansas Legislature in 1869 recognized farmers wanted roads to their farms that didn’t cross cropland, so they started designating the section lines as public highways.  A Kansas section is a square mile, so it’s easy to see how the mileage number got so big. And, since Kansas has no mountain ranges and relatively few large bodies of water, there aren’t many natural barriers in the way of building a road.

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