Monday, February 29, 2016

Meet the man who makes aircrafts that are lighter than air

The New Yorker recently interviewed Igor Pasternak, the C.E.O and chief engineer of Worldwide Aeros, who is fulfilling his lifelong dream of creating aircraft that are lighter than air.  Click on the video below to meet -- the Blimp Maker.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Here's a look at the I-70 dedication at Junction City, which took place on October 9, 1959.  Do you recognize anyone in the photos?  Let us know who they are in the comment box below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Meet KDOT's New Aviation Director

Kansas businessman Merrill Eisenhower Atwater has been selected to be the state’s next aviation director.

Atwater, of Basehor, will be part of the executive staff of the Kansas Department of Transportation in his new job. As director, he will work with the Federal Aviation Administration and aviation stakeholders across the state. He will oversee KDOT aviation programs, such as the Kansas Airport Improvement Program. 

“Merrill will be the champion for aviation in Kansas. He will promote aviation as an integral part of the state’s overall transportation infrastructure, which includes a world-class highway system,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King. “I am pleased Merrill has agreed to join us.”
For more than a year, Atwater has been national sales director for Housby, a diversified Des Moines, Iowa, company that comprises Mack and Isuzu truck retail sales, truck maintenance, auctions and more. Over the past decade, he has also been vice president of business development for Bar None Auctions in Sacramento, Calif.; senior executive of development and principal of Global Green Energy Parks of Kansas City, Mo.; and president of new business development for Fox Energy Corp., of Kansas City, Mo.
“I am very excited to be part of KDOT and promote the important role aviation has in the safety and economic well-being of Kansas,” said Atwater. “Using my business background, I will tie the state’s 138 public use airports to the economic development of local communities, regions and the entire state.” 

Ten years ago, Atwater, as the great-grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, took part in the national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. interstate system. His great-grandfather authorized creation of the interstate system in 1956. As part of the anniversary celebration, Atwater participated in a cross-country convoy in the summer of 2006 that included stops in Abilene and Kansas City, Kan.
Atwater has a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Mo., and is working on a master’s of business administration degree from Baker University in Baldwin City.
Atwater replaces Tiffany Brown who has taken a job with the FAA in Denver.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Secrets of Southeast Kansas: Gerth Cabin

 It was late December 1858. Abolitionist John Brown had just made a raid in western Missouri, liberating 11 slaves and spiriting them across the Kansas border to the Greeley community. While in hiding one of the escaped slaves, Jane Daniels, gave birth to a son, John Brown Daniels.

There is evidence that the newborn and other escaped slaves were hidden for a time underneath the cabin of Valentin Gerth, a settler of German descent who arrived in Anderson County in 1854. Gerth is buried in the Greeley City Cemetery.

The Gerth Cabin has been moved into Greeley from its original location north of town. The cabin stands on Trego Road, by the banks of the South Fork of Pottawatomie Creek. You can visit the cabin to learn about its possible ties to the Underground Railroad, and view a nearby 101-year-old concrete arch bridge. The Gerth Cabin offers tours; call (785) 867-2966 to make arrangements.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday

In honor of Kansas State University celebrating the 153rd Anniversary of its founding this week, we reached back in our archives and found these photos of the college taken during the 1920s.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Making of a Road

Kansas is known for its quality roads and building good ones means more than just putting down pavement. Typical construction or reconstruction projects generally consist of the following:


KDOT collects and evaluates a vast amount of information about the roads including current conditions, traffic volume and crash statistics. This data helps determine what and how to build.



Surveys of the road location, surface and terrain, drainage capabilities and other factors are taken to help develop the design. Once the design has been developed, KDOT opens the project for bidding from contractors.


More than just playing in the dirt, earthwork establishes the stable foundation for the road bed. Contractors build embankments using cuts and fills, and then level the surface out. Gravel layers are also added and compacted to bring the road to its designed height.


It’s finally time to lay down the surface, which is usually asphalt or concrete. The type of material depends on maintenance costs, traffic volume and materials.

 Open to Traffic:

Almost…tests are conducted on the new pavement to measure vibrations. If the road is too rough, the pavement must be smoothed out. Striping and permanent markings are also applied. Once it passes inspection, construction zones are removed and the roadway is open for business!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

KDOT workers honored for their heroic efforts

Sedan Subarea crew members Brad Harter, Bill Snyder, Timothy Baker, Randy Bierle
and Donald Simpson spent Dec. 21 cutting brush on U.S. 166 near Cedar Vale. As the crew members were returning to the office late that afternoon, they saw a semi-truck engulfed in flames. Independence Superintendent Marcus Leck said they went into action, rushed around to the cab of the truck and found the driver also engulfed in flames.

The employees ran to the driver to perform the stop, drop and roll technique to extinguish the fire. The tires started popping from the heat and were about to explode, so they moved him to safety away from the truck to provide other emergency medical care.

“We go to training for things like this,” said Sedan Highway Supervisor Tom Ware. “They acted quickly, and they didn’t hesitate. They jumped right in there and did all they could. I’m pretty proud of them.”

Sedan Subarea employees Art Wade, Dale Sweaney and Nathan Blankinship also responded to assist with traffic control on U.S. 166 and other activities associated with the crash.

“This was one of the worst wrecks we’ve come upon,” Ware said. “I commend everyone for their efforts.”

Leck said the driver later died at the Sedan City Hospital, but “our employees gave him a chance for life that he did not have without them.”

The entire Sedan Subarea crew was honored by Gov. Sam Brownback, Secretary Mike King and KHP Lt. Col. Randy Moon at the Capitol on Jan. 28.

“I’m incredibly proud of our crew and how they responded to this tragedy,” said Secretary Mike King. “They put the well-being of the driver above their own safety and went above and beyond to help.”

Monday, February 15, 2016

ICYMI: Preliminary Engineering to begin for Great Bend Shipping Facility

A consortium of city and rail interests has been given the go- ahead to begin preliminary engineering for a transload shipping center at Great Bend. 
The Kansas Department of Transportation, which will contribute $3 million for the $6.8 million project, gave approval for preliminary engineering after reviewing the business plan and financial model proposed by the Great Bend group. The consultant HDR will do the preliminary engineering. The entities that joined together to craft the development plans include the city of Great Bend, the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad (K&O), and Kansas Transload Services.
“I’m extremely pleased how this group developed its proposal from concept to now beginning the preliminary engineering process and I’m anxious to get construction started later this year,” said Mike King, Kansas Transportation Secretary and Director of the Kansas Turnpike Authority. “This facility will have great business benefits for farmers and manufacturers, allow for reduced transportation costs and provide economic development opportunities for Great Bend and the region.”
Read more here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

KDOT debuts one-of-a-kind roundabout

In the final weeks of 2015, KDOT opened a one-of-a-kind roundabout near Marion in central Kansas. It not only enhances safety, it accommodates freight superloads that sometimes have difficulty navigating a conventional roundabout. This video explains the need and the concept and also provides animation of how trucks pulling huge loads can pass through the intersection.