Thursday, July 30, 2015

The artful interchange

Photographer Peter Andrew proves in a series of remarkable photos posted on that an interchange is as much form as it is function.  Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A few tips for understanding construction lingo

Hot summer days can only mean one thing at KDOT: road construction season is in full swing.

The KDOT construction season generally runs from March to November, when the weather is most favorable for road work. With a full slate of projects planned for 2015, crews are busy repairing, reconstructing and restoring roadways this season across the Sunflower State.

Most KDOT projects focus on preservation of the current road surface and range from light resurfacing to full reconstruction. The most common construction activities include:

Chip seals: As the name implies, chip seals involve spreading asphalt on the current road surface, followed by a layer of chipped rock that is compacted into place by heavy rollers.

Crack seals: Excessive moisture and debris can damage pavement, so KDOT utilizes crack seals to provide a temporary fix to the roadway until it can be completely repaired. The premise is simple: workers fill cracks with an asphalt-like sealer to help smooth out the surface.

Mill and overlay: These comprise the majority of KDOT’s construction activities. First, a section of the roadway is ground, or milled, off and removed. It is then replaced with an asphalt overlay using some of the material that was milled off. Asphalt is the most commonly recycled product in the United States and what isn’t recycled during construction is often used on other projects.

Surface recycle: Here’s another example of asphalt recycling. A truck-mounted heater softens and removes the top layer of pavement, which is then mixed with a rejuvenating agent and reapplied – all in one pass. Finally, the recycled pavement is topped with a thin asphalt overlay or chip seal to complete the project.

Next time you’re passing through a construction zone, remember this list and see if you can identify what kind of project is being done. And, as always, slow down and “Give ‘em a Brake!”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Motoring Monday: Sandsage Bison Range Wildlife Area

Just southwest of Garden City, the Sandsage Bison Range Wildlife Area is home to the oldest publicly owned bison herd in Kansas – bison have been there since the 1920s. The range was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson – it was formerly part of the Kansas National Forest.

The range preserves more than 3,700 acres of Sandsage Prairie, home to mule deer, black-tailed prairie dogs and western meadowlarks in addition to the bison. The bison herd has continued to grow, with tours and other activities now available such as wildflower walks, guided bison tours and other educational events.

Learn more about the range at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Here is construction of a turnpike overpass on US-50 west of Emporia.  Can you name the year?  Hint: If you want go back there, you might need to call Doc Brown.  Give us your guess in the comments below.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Getting to know KDOT's new Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator

 Mike Spadafore remembers his favorite bicycle. It was Christmas Day 1980 and the weather was warmer than usual in Chicago that time of year.

“I received a red and black BMX bike from my parents and I was unable to contain my excitement. I wanted to take it outside immediately,” Spadafore said. “There wasn’t any snow on the ground and I was able to ride it out the door and around our block on Christmas—while still wearing my pajamas. It was a great feeling.”

Spadafore, who started with KDOT in October of last year, was recently named the Statewide Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator. As part the Comprehensive Transportation Planning Unit, he will maintain his role as one of the state’s MPO liaisons who work closely with the six metropolitan planning organizations throughout Kansas.

Spadafore earned his Master of Urban Planning and Policy with concentrations in both community development and physical design from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He holds bachelor's degrees in Architectural Studies from Judson University and History through the Arts from Carthage College, as well as LEED AP  (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) accreditation from the United States Green Building Council.

He looks forward to hearing from the bicycle community in Kansas and can be reached at

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finalists for shipping hub announced

Seven finalists have been selected for the site of a proposed Kansas transload shipping center.

The Kansas Department of Transportation/Kansas Turnpike Authority Transload Facility Site Analysis team selected the finalists from the 111proposals submitted for consideration. Some communities submitted multiple sites.
The finalists include Abilene, Concordia, El Dorado (Refinery Road site), Garden City (U.S. 50 Industrial Park), Great Bend, Great Plains Industrial Park just south of Parsons, and Norton.

Transloading is the process of moving goods from one mode of transportation to another, or in this case, from truck to rail and rail to truck. By blending the benefits of shipping by rail and local/short haul trucking, a transload facility can provide more flexible and cost-effective solutions for customers who may not have local access to freight rail service or those who need expanded warehousing. 

“I’m pleased that so many communities in every region of the state submitted proposals. A transload facility has the potential to not only lower shipping costs, it is a job creator and provides economic development opportunities for the export of Kansas products,” said Mike King, Secretary of Transportation and Director of the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 

The selection committee will hear presentations from the finalists later this month and a final selection is expected in late August.