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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Work Zone Wednesday: Excavator vs. Bridge

As part of Work Zone Wednesday we have been telling you about work zones that are already in progress and have been planned for. Here's an example of a work zone that wasn't planned for, and could have easily been avoided.

Earlier this spring a driver hauling an excavator hit a bridge near Hutchinson, on the westbound lanes of U.S. 50 and the K-14 bridge overhead. The driver had failed to account for and was over the overpass height limit.

After emergency crews cleaned up the hydraulic fluid and fuel leak, KDOT crews began to assess the the damage done to the bridge. The bridge was hit with such force that the excavator's cabin, arm and shovel were removed once the boom hit the overpass, the rest of the excavator was still attached to the trailer. A crane was then needed to remove the damaged equipment.

No significant structural damage had occurred but a investigation found that the impact had first hit the concrete girder, damaging not just the concrete but the horizontal beam under the second girder. Bridge decking and concrete girders were replaced following the crash.

No one was injured in the crash, but it's a reminder for every driver to plan their drive ahead of time, including checking the requirements of the roads that they travel on. While driving, stay alert and check the posted signs.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

June's letting includes Streetscape improvement in Girard

Girard's proposed Streetscape improvements from their Transportation Alternatives application. 

A $1.5 million Streetscape improvement project in the city of Girard is one of nine projects in the June KDOT letting. The project was selected in 2015 by KDOT as one of 20 projects to receive federal funding  as part of the Transportation Alternatives program.

The Streetscape improvements will highlight design elements and visual effects along the square block of Prairie Avenue and Forest Avenue between Summit Street and Ozark Avenue. Enhancements include LED street lighting, plantings, new sidewalks, curb and gutters.

To see all of the projects in the June letting, click here.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Motoring Monday: Kansas' Biggest Rodeo

Saddle bronc riding - photo credit: JJJ Photo
The biggest rodeo in Kansas has a big history as the event is celebrating its 87th anniversary this summer. From Aug. 4-6, there are nightly rodeo performances featuring world champion cowboys and cowgirls in bareback riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, team roping, women’s barrel racing, and bull riding – all sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Children can participate in ‘mutton busting’ before the rodeo each night and nearly 100 Saddle Club members ride horses in a grand entry each night as well. A parade will take place through downtown Phillipsburg on Saturday afternoon.

For the past nine years, Tough Enough to Wear Pink night has raised more than $49,000 for cancer research and patients in Phillips County, as $1 is given by the rodeo committee for each person wearing pink.

For more details on all the events, go to

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Construction of Great Bend's transload center kicks off

This afternoon in Great Bend there will be a kick-off celebration for the state's first ever transload facility. Transload, means to move good from one mode of transportation to another, from rail to truck or truck to rail in this case. Great Bend was chosen out of more than 100 applicants for this site.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Air Force veteran selected to be state's first UAS director

Bob Brock, a Pittsburg native who retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel, will oversee the establishment of policy and procedures for the operation of UAS, or drones, in Kansas. During his Air Force career, Brock gained experience in UAS operations and training. He also served as a flight safety officer and instructor pilot.
“Bob has extraordinary experience with UAS and will play a pivotal role in helping develop our program in Kansas,” said Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King. “Under his guidance, the state will become a national leader in the industry.”
 Brock said that among his priorities will be protecting the privacy and public safety of Kansans as drones become part of our world.
“Our team will work very closely with the FAA, universities and aviation leaders to deliver systems that make Kansas safer, provide economic growth and also save time and money,” said Brock.
Brock will maintain offices at Kansas Department of Transportation headquarters in Topeka and at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in Salina, which has a nationally ranked UAS program.
"Kansas State Polytechnic is very excited about the state's new UAS director having an office on our campus," said Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research and executive director of the Applied Aviation Research Center on the Polytechnic Campus. "This allows both KDOT and K-State to work together more easily to help advance the industry statewide and bring lasting economic benefit to Kansas."

Friday, July 1, 2016

#FBF Independence Day Celebrations of the past

With July 4th falling on a Monday this year, it makes for a nice long weekend. With that in mind we would show you pictures of Kansans enjoying the holiday from the past thanks to Kansas Memory and the Kansas Historical Society.

No matter where you choose to celebrate your holiday, please do so safely and check before you hit the road.

This photo shows Cimarron on July 4, 1886.  
From Fowler on July 4, 1908. 

From the July 4 celebration in 1900 in Osage City. 

July 4, 1914 in Wells.  
The 1911 Independence Day parade in Scott City.