Thursday, April 27, 2017

Remember the Zipper Merge? These caterpillars do

KDOT implemented the zipper merge (or late merge) last year.

When a lane was closed in a construction zone, the "zipper merge" occurred when drivers  used both lanes up until they reached the defined merge area. They then took turns in a "zipper" fashion into the open lane.

If you didn't have a chance to experience this project, here are some caterpillars who can help demonstrate how the process worked.

We don't know where these little guys were headed, but they probably got there safely and efficiently using the zipper merge technique! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

KDOT takes steps to protect the environment


In honor of the last week’s Earth day and the upcoming Arbor Day, here are some ways KDOT works to protect the environment while building and maintaining the highways.


One of many wetlands that KDOT worked to improve around the South Lawrence Trafficway.

KDOT's Environmental Services Section reviews KDOT projects and KDOT sponsored projects across the state that have the potential to impact the environment. These impacts can affect human and natural environments, and many projects must be cleared and permitted on a local, state and federal level.  Each of these reviews must evaluate potential impacts a project can have on noise, air quality, archeologic and historical resources, Native American lands, farmland, hazardous waste, storm-water erosion control, threatened and endangered species and impacts to wetlands and streams. 
An erosion control blanket is one way that KDOT works to protect the surrounding land so rain water won't wash the grass and mulch away. 

One example is a project in Cherokee County on K-7 to widen and raise the roadway plus add 10-foot shoulders for safety and flooding reasons. This project requires two channel changes to local streams, will fill some small wetland areas and possibly affect the habitat of a state-threatened chorus frog called the Spring Peeper. 
The Spring Peeper is a threatened chorus frog species and
KDOT is working to create more habitat pools for this small
amphibian. Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

To offset these impacts, KDOT designed new stream channels using the principles of natural channel design. In addition to the new channel, a planting bench is being added along each streambank with Sandbar Willow and Pin Oak trees to be planted to add stability to the stream. Outside of the planting bench, a new riparian area will be planted with native trees such as Bur Oak and Shellbark Hickory plus native grasses making up a 50-foot buffer along each side of the new stream channel. 

Inside each bend of the new stream channel, a new wetland area was designed where a wetland seed mix will be planted and bitternut hickory and Pin Oaks will be placed around the edges. These wetland areas, or ‘Peeper Pools.’ are to create habitat for the threatened Spring Peeper. In addition to these pools, stretches of the old stream channel and its riparian area that were not needed to be graded and filled will be preserved for additional habitat.  To restore aquatic passage to upstream segments, a perched culvert will replaced with an embedded or ‘buried’ culvert.


All in all this project will create more than 3,300 feet of new stream and riparian area, build six various sized Peeper Pools and plant more than 5,400 trees.

Riparian areas have been created and updated throughout the state, with more streams and areas to come.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Distracted driving on the rise: It can wait


The telephone has come a long way since it was first invented in 1876. Today, those telephones are portable mini-computers that help us navigate this fast-paced world.  
We may even feel the constant pull to multi-task and gather more information while we travel.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as multi-tasking. If your mind is focused on your cell phone, the radio, eating, or even talking with passengers while you drive, there could be deadly consequences. 

There were 432 traffic fatalities in Kansas last year and The National Safety Council said that 40,200 people died in crashes across the United States. 

Many of those fatalities could be attributed to distracted driving, including the use of mobile phones.

The Federal Communications Commission has some sobering distracted driving statistics:

- Over 8 people are killed and 1,161 are injured daily in incidents reported as distraction
affected crashes in the United States.

- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2015, there were 3,477
people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 people injured in motor vehicle crashes  
involving distracted drivers.

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell
phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since
2010.

- In 2015, the National Occupant Protection Use Survey reported that handheld cell phone
use continued to be highest among 16-24 year old drivers.

For as often as we discuss the dangers of distracted driving, the numbers continue to rise. We need your help to get the message out to friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors that lives are on the line every time they use a phone while driving.

Be an example- You know that it is not safe to text and drive. You may know that no message, snapchat, social media post or Tweet is worth risking lives over. So act on that knowledge and teach others to do the same.  If you are teaching a new driver how to operate a vehicle, educate them on the importance of putting your phone away.


If you need to make a phone call, or check your phone, pull over to a safe place and answer or text before you return to the roadway.

Speak up- If you see a driver you are riding with texting or using social media, tell them to put their phone away while they are driving. It may seem hard to speak up, but be brave - it could save lives. 

Check out this powerful video from NHTSA and see how sending a message while driving could be the last words someone will ever say.





Thursday, April 20, 2017

Adopt-A-Highway: Keep Kansas clean


Earth Day is this Saturday and it is a great reminder that we have the power to make our environment safe, clean and beautiful.
One way to help keep Kansas clean is through the Adopt-A-Highway program. This national program began in 1989.

Trash can be an unsightly problem. Participation in the program not only helps the environment; it also gives non-profit groups an opportunity to be active in their community and it saves tax dollars.

Here are some tips on how you can keep our state looking great:

How you can join
Any non-profit group that does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color or gender can participate in KDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program by calling your closest KDOT office.  Phone numbers and application forms can be found at the Adopt-A-Highway Website.
  • Volunteers should have the following qualifications before heading out:Good physical condition, including sight and hearing
  • Mental alertness - don’t participate if you are tired or drowsy.
  • A sense of responsibility for the safety of the public and the crew.
  • A willingness to use good common sense.
  • Group members must be at least 11 years old and have adequate adult supervision,



Once you join
Most highway sections are two miles long. Groups that adopt a Kansas highway must agree to remove litter at least three times a year for two years per their convenience.

There is no cost to join the group – KDOT provides trash bags and safety vests.

Please contact your KDOT office before a scheduled cleanup.

  • Volunteers should only pick up litter along one side of the highway at a time and only work during daylight hours.
  • It is encouraged that volunteers carpool to the destination to reduce the number of vehicles needed and only park in the recommended areas.
  • Wear bright and light clothing with long sleeves if possible. Also wear a hat, sunscreen, insect replant and proper footware.
  • Be alert. Be aware of traffic at all times and if you see any suspected toxic/hazardous chemicals or dead animals, DO NOT try to handle or remove them. Notify your nearest KDOT office, the Kansas Highway Patrol, or local police department.

However you decide to get involved, it’s important to be safe while helping your community. For more tips, check out the Adopt-A-Highway website mentioned earlier. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Severe weather driving tips


That time of year is upon us. Severe weather can strike at any moment. If you must drive through storms, know the safety tips required to reach your destination safely.

Be Prepared:
The bottom line when driving during severe weather is to be prepared for anything. Before you travel check the weather forecast of your entire route.

If you see darkening skies tune into a local radio station or have your passengers look up the weather on their devices.

Driving in Rain:

Wipers on. Headlights on: This is Kansas law. Protect yourself and others around you. Headlights help increase the chances that you will be seen by other drivers.

Turn on Wipers and Keep Windows Clear: This may be a no-brainer, but a surprising number of people drive with windshield wipers that aren’t at their peak performance. It is suggested to get them replaced every 6-12 months. Use your de-frost function or air conditioner to keep your windows clear of fog.

Be Patient:  Take it slower than usual and give extra room to the drivers around you. Wet roads could cause your vehicle to hydroplane or lose traction.

Turn Around Don’t Drown: During severe weather, flash floods may occur. Never try to cross a flooded road way. The water may be deeper than you think and it is dangerous to try to drive over it. Find an alternate route. It only takes a few inches for the current to take you and your vehicle for an unwanted ride.  Abandon your vehicle if it stalls and seek higher ground.

Turn off Cruise Control:  Road conditions during severe weather are inconsistent. You need to be in control, not your vehicle. 

This is a photo that has been circulating social media.
It demonstrates how important it is to use your headlights.
Looking at this picture, you can hardly see the vehicle
approaching the driver., who also shouldn't have been using
his camera while driving. 


Driving during a hailstorm:
Take shelter:  Don’t leave your vehicle unless you can get inside quickly. The hailstones could cause injury.  If you are near an underpass or bridge it is safe to wait out the hail.

Pull over:  if you are not near any shelter, stay in your vehicle and pull to side of the road.

Driving During High Winds:

Watch for Flying Debris: High winds can pick up items that become dangerous weapons if they should hit your or your vehicle.

Be prepared for wind gusts: If you drive a high profile vehicle such as an SUV, bus, or semi truck, you have a higher risk of being affected by high wind gusts. Consider not traveling in these vehicles if you can avoid it.

Driving During a Tornado

This one is easy: Don’t. Never try to outrun a tornado, and don’t drive during one either.  Get out of your car and find shelter. If none can be found, get below the road’s surface and cover your head. A ditch or low area is suggested. Be aware of the water level around you and be on the lookout for flash floods. Never seek shelter in an underpass.

In every weather situation it is best to buckle up - every trip, every time - and pay attention to your environment. 

Check out some of the intense weather that citizens in Hays saw a week ago when a storm system stalled out and created a flash flood and hail situation on the streets, creating an unsafe and slushy situation for a lot of drivers.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Reminder: Drive work zone speed limit, or pay double fines

It's a simple message but not every driver pays attention to it:
"Drive the work zone speed limit, or pay double fines." 

Between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. last Wednesday, a double major traffic incident occurred on both eastbound and westbound I-435 that snarled traffic through the morning rush hour, creating huge backups and major delays.




First, a vehicle hit the temporary barrier wall on westbound I-435 at Metcalf Avenue, shoving barrier into the eastbound I-435 lanes which were then struck by a vehicle and semi. More than forty 12.5-foot concrete barrier pieces were moved and had to be reset. One barrier piece was entirely broken and had to be replaced.

A close up of one of the broken barriers that had to be replaced. More than forty concrete barriers were either moved or broken following last week's crash.
A crane had to be brought in and the two eastbound I-435 through lanes from Quivira Road east through Metcalf Avenue were fully closed until 9 a.m. this morning to reset the barrier pieces.

KDOT Metro Area staff have said that they have not seen barriers broken or damaged  of this magnitude in their 20 years of experience.

This was NOT a closure planned for construction work on the I-435 Pavement Reconstruction Project. These delays and closures were due to traffic crashes. The highway had to be closed for the safety of the traveling public until all barrier pieces could be reset.



For construction phasing and schedule, traffic impacts and the various ways you can stay informed on the massive I-435 Pavement Reconstruction Project, click here to view the I-435 Pavement Reconstruction Project Factsheet.

The Kansas Department of Transportation urges all motorists to be alert, take it slow, #Drive55, obey the warning signs, put down the phone, focus fully on the road, and “Give ‘Em a Brake!” when approaching and driving through the project work zone.  

Save a life. Save some time and spare you wallet. Follow work zone speed limits.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

People Saving People winners announced at KDOT Safety Conference

People Saving People: Winners of the state’s 2017 People Saving People Award were honored on April 5 as part of the 23rd Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Wichita.
The award highlights efforts of a person or organization that has a positive effect on transportation safety behavior. KDOT sponsors the award along with the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor
Carriers Safety Administration.

This year’s award recipients were:


AAA Kansas Traffic Safety Fund Trustees receive their People Saving People Award at The 23rd Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Wichita on April 5. 
AAA Kansas Traffic Safety Fund Trustees -The AAA Kansas Traffic Safety Fund Trustees are an important partner in educating the driving public and have provided funding for materials on various traffic safety issues.


Retired Sheriff Sandy Horton receives his People Saving People award at The 23rd Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Wichita on April 5.   


Sheriff Sandy Horton, Retired - Sheriff 
Horton has been a traffic safety advocate throughout his law enforcement career and began the SAFE program in 2009. 


Undersheriff John Koelsch receives his People Saving People Award at The 23rd Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Wichita on April 5. 


Undersheriff John Koelsch - Undersheriff Koelsch volunteers his time to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety in Lyon County as well as teaching children in elementary school the fundamentals of walking and biking.


Kristin Nichols receives her People Saving People award at The 23rd Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Wichita on April 5.  


Kristin Nichols - Nichols spends time 
educating the community, law enforcement, and other professionals on safe driving. She is one of nine people in the United States to hold the certification of American Occupational  Therapy Association Specialty Certification in
Driving and Community Mobility.



The Tweeting Troopers accept their People Saving People award at The 23rd Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Wichita on April 5. 

Tweeting Troopers - Through Twitter, the Tweeting Troopers disseminate safety messages on a daily basis, reaching thousands of drivers daily - they are an integral part of the public outreach effort of the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

#IAMKDOT Tom McCartney


When people first think of work zones, most think of summer construction taking place on the highways. But motorists need to use extra caution all year long, including the winter, when workers are clearing the roadways of snow and ice.

This month’s #IAMKDOT feature is Tom McCartney, Area Superintendent in El Dorado, and he knows this all too well. His truck has been hit twice - once when a vehicle slid into the side of his truck and once when he got rear-ended during white out conditions on the Interstate.

“Snow and ice is a whole different experience. Working north of Wichita – people passing on both sides in blinding snow,” he said. “Then a half mile down the road, there they are in the ditch.”

McCartney has spent his 23-year career working along the highways. He has worked in Marion and Newton, then was promoted to Supervisor at the Hutchinson Subarea Office. He’s been in his current position for the past two years.

He said it’s also very different working along a two-lane highway with lower traffic volumes versus a multi-lane divided Interstate.

“Coming from Marion, that was an eye opening experience. There were times I had to wait 10 minutes to safely cross the road to get in the median,” he said. “If it was rush hour, it could take longer.

“I don’t think drivers understand what it’s like to have traffic come by at a high rate of speed and how quickly something tragic can happen,” McCartney said. “It can get bad in a hurry.”

When not working, he likes to spend his time with his wife and four grown children. He also is an avid sports fans and a horse trader. McCartney grew up training horses and sustained numerous injuries in the process – he broke his neck when he was 14, has had multiple concussions, has broken all his ribs and separated a shoulder. Now he lets his oldest son train the horses most of the time.

#IAMKDOT is an illustration project that recognizes KDOT employees who work hard to keep Kansans moving. This series also serves as a reminder for travelers to slow down and remember that underneath those neon vests are individuals with families, friends and hobbies waiting for them at home.


Do you know a KDOT worker that deserves recognition? Nominations are open! Email Mallory.Goeke@KS.gov today to get started! 

Friday, April 7, 2017

National Work Zone Awareness Week Recap



National Work Zone Awareness Week may be in our rear view mirror. But work zone awareness should always be on our minds. 


Here are some highlights from last week:




The National Work Zone Awareness news conference took place in Topeka on April 6. State Transportation Engineer Catherine Patrick and KDOT employees Galen Ludlow and Troy Whitworth all shared their work zone experiences.  Superintendent Col. Mark Bruce, from the Kansas Highway Patrol, and Rick Backlund, Federal Highway Administration Division Director, joined them and shared their own stories. Numerous partners also participated in a vehicle display at the event.
Several work zone vehicles were on display at the April 6 press conference. 

This event was just one of several activities in Kansas. Buildings and structures across Kansas lit up orange last week to highlight work zone safety. Those locations were the Governor’s Mansion, the Amelia Earhart Bridge in Atchison, the Visitor’s Center in the Capitol, the Eisenhower State Office Building in Topeka, the 87th Street bridges over I-35 in Lenexa, the front of the Topeka City Hall and KDOT offices in Topeka, Salina, Norton, Chanute, Hutchinson and Garden City.

Electronic Message boards along the highways had rotating work zone safety messages.

Our blog series was awesome. We had five people share stories throughout the week and they all showed why work zone safety is so important. 


And a children's activity page was also created to teach kids the importance of work zone safety. Find it here.

Last Thursday was also the day that KDOT encouraged everyone across the state to wear orange in support of our highway workers. Here are a few of our favorite photos:
Emporia Subarea Crew celebrates NWZAW in front of their sign.

Troy Whitworth addresses the news conference crowd on Thursday.


The Governor's Mansion was lit up orange in support of Kansas highway workers. 
Even some orange wildlife decided to fly in and learn about work zone safety. 


Various safety messages were shared throughout the week to encourage drivers to pay attention to the task at hand: Driving. 







And for everyone who works along our highways and roads, we can't say it enough - your work is greatly appreciated and needed. 


The call a highway supervisor fears


My name is Troy Whitworth and I have spent the past 29 years working for KDOT in some capacity; whether it was as a front line worker, Supervisor or Manager. I spent the majority of my early career based in the Kansas City area working on multi-lane highways with high traffic counts.
Troy Whitworth
As a Supervisor and Manager, the worst news you can receive is the call saying one of your people has been hurt while working on the road. I received one of those calls one night - an employee of mine had been struck by a vehicle while he was providing traffic control for an accident scene.
Fearing the worst; I asked if he was ok.  I was told he was in the emergency room being checked out by a doctor and was unaware of the extent of his injuries.  I made my way to the hospital wondering what had happened and hoping that he would be alright. When I got to his room in the ER; I found him in surprisingly good spirits but a bit sore from where the car hit him and from where he hit the ground.
I asked him what had happened. He told me he had closed down a ramp along the interstate for the traffic accident he got called out for. He said he saw headlights moving toward the ramp. The lights just kept coming at him and at the reflectorized cones delineating the closure. Before he knew it the car was almost on top of him; he jumped out of the way. The car struck his legs and spun him around knocking him to the edge of the roadway and out of the path of the vehicle.  The car continued up the ramp almost striking a police officer as it sped by.
Seeing what had just happened; the police leapt into action. After a frantic car chase, the police were able to get the vehicle stopped before someone else was hurt. We later found out the driver had been drinking and was impaired enough he didn’t know he had hit someone. 
In this instance we were very fortunate that the injuries to my employee weren’t life threatening. It could have been much more tragic and has been in other work zone crashes.  
Our field maintenance and construction workers have a difficult and sometimes dangerous job to do. They do amazing work making the roads safer for the traveling public. Remember to be considerate as you drive the roadway. When you see workers on the roadway, give them room to do their job.

Troy Whitworth is the Assistant to the Director of Operations at KDOT.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Nothing surprises me anymore




When you’re out on the roadway for a living, you hear, see and sometimes even experience scary moments. 
My name is Kenny Olson and I’m a Roadway Striping Foreman. I’ve been with KTA for 12 years and I have had more close calls on the roadway than many would think. Just last summer, I had vehicles hit at two different times while painting roadway lines.
Kenny Olson
One of these was in Wichita on the entrance ramp from the K-96 plaza. We were painting the white line on the right side, early in the morning when a driver came down the entry ramp way too fast.
Because of her speed, she wasn’t able to move out the way in time and hit the corner of our attenuator (the crash cushion hooked at the back of a truck) and then bounced and hit the guardrail. She was lucky she didn’t hit the truck again after that, but rather carried all the way through the right of way.
The other happened up near Lecompton where the road goes from three lanes to two. We were on the right with the striper when, for a reason I still don’t know today, a semi-truck locks up his brakes while in the left lane. His cab cut between the attenuator truck and the truck ahead of it, and jack-knifed.
The trailer whipped so fast that it hit the attenuator sideways and ended up back in the roadway, blocking traffic. The driver just backed up and drove away! Luckily a trooper caught up to him at a service area soon after.
These are just my two most recent experiences, but there’s been so many more. From a vehicle not paying attention and actually driving between the barrier wall and our striping machine to another driver purposely driving into the grass and back up onto the road to avoid driving through the work zone. Nothing surprises me anymore, and that’s the sad reality.
We can take as many safety precautions as necessary, making changes to safety procedures, but ultimately, drivers need to pay attention. People are in such a hurry, on their phones, or even having a dog on their lap licking their face (yes, that was a real thing I saw once on the road). Leave sooner. Watch the roadway signs. Pay attention.



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sometimes other drivers put us in bad situations


My name is Ben Gardner and for 18 years, I've been a state trooper for the Kansas Highway Patrol.  During my time, I've responded to numerous crashes involving damage, injuries, or death. 
Trooper Ben Gardner
Many of these crashes blur together and get forgotten in my mind. Some will stay with me until the day I no longer wear this uniform and beyond. 

It's easy to bet that most officers remember the first crash they ever responded to while on duty - this is true for me as well. 
The first crash I responded to involved a KDOT grader, which was driving east on U. S. 56, and a teen driver, who was driving fast and failed to recognize the slower, large equipment ahead.  The teen driver collided with the back of the road grader, and his pickup truck rolled multiple times.  Luckily he had his seat belt on. A medical helicopter landed on the scene and transported him to Wichita for treatment. 
The KDOT employee was very shook up.  He was questioning if he did anything wrong, and what could have been done to prevent the crash?  Simply put, the KDOT employee did not do anything wrong.  
This crash, the first one I ever investigated in a new career with the Kansas Highway Patrol, taught me several things that I still believe today. 
1) We might be the best drivers out there, doing nothing wrong, but sometimes other drivers put us in bad situations. This is why we must always wear our seat belts…to prepare for that unwanted, unexpected, not-your-fault situation, not knowing when it's going to play out.
2) When we drive, we must ensure that driving is the primary task at hand, limiting distractions that might take us away from the primary task. Eating, cellphones, talking with others, listening to the radio all move us further away from the focus needed when driving.
This crash occurred 18 years ago, and the lessons learned then are still true today.  


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

If drivers could see what we see


By Ross Weber
I am Ross Weber and I am the Hutchinson Branch Manager for APAC-Kansas, Inc. Shears Division.
Ross Weber
We spend a lot of time making our work zones safe. It is planned for in our pre-bid evaluations and followed up on throughout the project. We analyze how we can protect our employees from the public as well as how we can protect the public from us. When we see something in our plan isn’t working, we make changes to the situation.
Work zones are a change to the normal traffic pattern. We train our employees constantly about avoiding distractions while in the work zone. We have no training with the public.
We spend a lot of time in training discussing the distractions we see occurring with drivers in our work zone. A lot of people are looking at their phones or talking on their phones. I followed a man through a work zone last year that was watching a movie on his I-Pad. We see people that are asleep, others that are drunk. Imagine someone driving through your workplace watching a movie at 70 mph.
While construction workers are occasionally injured or even killed in work zone accidents, the vast majority of the serious injuries and all of the deaths I have witnessed in 31 years of construction involved the public.
It is devastating to us when our co-workers are injured at work or anywhere else. We work hard to prevent it. We have become adept at avoiding distracted drivers, we know they are there every day. Some of us have known each other and our families for years - it is personal when one of us is injured.
Equally devastating are the accidents involving the public; construction workers are the first responders at work zone accidents. We witness the destruction to vehicles and people that occur when people run into our equipment and each other. All too often we are the ones that administer first aid and comfort until EMS arrives. These accidents take a toll on us emotionally. While most of the time we don’t know the victims of the accidents, we know that like us, they have people expecting them to come home.
If people driving through our work zones could see what construction workers see, they would put down the phones, the I-Pads, the computers, hairbrushes, razors, cheeseburgers and anything else that distracts them and just drive their car.

 

 

Monday, April 3, 2017

My look on traffic control


By Derrick Shannon
I started working for KDOT in August of 2002 on the Garnett Area Crew and am now the 
Derrick Shannon
Area Superintendent in Iola.
The first time I was assigned to flag was on K-68. The crew was putting a hand rail back on a bridge that a car had taken off.  Back then, we used three signs and no cones.  It took about 10 minutes to put up the traffic control.  I was handed the paddle and radio and told to stop traffic.  I got right to work. The morning went fine with cars and trucks stopping as they should.  Just after I went back to my flagging position after my second break of the day, a big yellow dump truck flew past me. The driver did not even touch the brake till he was all the way past me. 
Another close call was just a few years ago when I was the Equipment Operator Specialist on the Iola Subarea crew.  We were patching concrete on U.S. 169. The crew members had the traffic control in place and were using the new automated flaggers. I was running the controls and had just closed the northbound flagger to stop traffic. A car was coming into the work zone and was about at the sign that says do not pass. The driver drove right around the automated flagger, came right up to where I was running the remote and told me the flagger was broke because the arm just fell down right in front of them.
I have only been involved in one accident in a work zone in my 14-year career with KDOT and lucky for me and the crew, no one was hurt. It happened on U.S. 54 when I was an Equipment Operator. A semi-truck slammed into the back of a pickup truck that was stopped at the flagger. Lucky for everyone involved the semi turned into the ditch. The pickup truck that was hit only went about 50 feet forward and the flagger was able to get out of the way.
I really want to thank all of the Kansas Department of Transportation people that worked so hard at coming up with the set-up for traffic control that we use today. I believe the workers are better protected now from distracted drivers that they come across on the roads.
I am reminded of these times when I hear crews complain about having to spend so much time setting out 30 lead-in cones, 10 signs, six cone tapers at both ends, a crash attenuator, a buffer zone and a pilot car. I just let them know how much safer they are nowadays than what we were in previous years.

Friday, March 31, 2017

2017 National Work Zone Awareness Week


Starting Monday, April 3 and running to Friday, April 7, new blogs will be posted each day as part of our National Work Zone Awareness Week series. Highway workers, contractors and law enforcement will share stories highlighting why work zone safety is so important.
Thanks for reading and sharing these blogs to help improve safety in work zones.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

KDOT announces Kansas airport improvement projects

Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson announces KAIP grant recipients at KSU Polytechnic Campus at Salina Municipal Airport. 
Topeka – Twenty-six airports have been selected for Kansas Airport Improvement Program
funding to repair or improve facilities and enhance air ambulance access.

The projects selected for this Kansas Department of Transportation program will receive a combined total of just over $4 million in fiscal year 2018. KAIP requires airport sponsors to share in the project costs by paying a minimum of five percent of the total project costs up to a maximum of 50 percent, depending on project category (such as modernization, equipment, design, and preservation). The combined total value of the approved projects is estimated at $4.45 million.

Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson selected the new KAIP projects to improve airports in the State of Kansas. “These projects will help us make critical air services available to more Kansans all across the state,” said Secretary Carlson. “Improvements currently underway at rural airports will help ensure that 93 percent of our population has air ambulance access.”

KAIP receives $5 million annually through the T-WORKS transportation program. KDOT’s Division of Aviation, which manages the program, considered 123 applications for projects totaling $31.7 million.

“The aviation industry and general aviation are key economic engines in the State of Kansas,” pointed out KDOT Director of Aviation, Merrill Atwater. “The KAIP program helps us continue building that growth to maintain aviation as an important part of the Kansas economy, which results in jobs for its residents.”

“The applications we receive each year for KAIP projects are very competitive, indicating the value local officials attach to maintaining and developing their airports,” said State Aviation Planner Greg Chenoweth.  “KAIP allows us to advance the effectiveness of our airport system on a state-wide basis.”


KDOT Director of Aviation, Merrill Atwater (left) and Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson (second from the left) presented representatives of the KSU Polytechnic Campus with a KAIP grant yesterday. Photo credit: Kansas State Polytechnic Communications and Marketing 

Communities selected for funding and the amount requested include:

Abilene pavement maintenance and repair, $96,525
Augusta – pavement maintenance and repair, $76,500
Baldwin City – runway drainage repair, $43,055
Chanute – design of pavement repair, $9,500
Colby – pavement maintenance and repair, $49,750
Dodge City – ADA accessible aircraft boarding ramp, $28,690
Eureka -- pavement maintenance and repair, $47,295
Great Bend – airfield lighting improvements, $34,545
Greensburg – grading and drainage for new airport, $1,080,000
Herington – self serve fuel system upgrade, $41,225
Hutchinson -- pavement maintenance and repair, $315,000
Independence – self serve fuel system upgrade, $29,750
Jetmore – on-site weather reporting system, $135,000
Kingman – on-site weather reporting system upgrade, $28,800
Lawrence – pavement repair, $133,560
Lincoln – grading and drainage for new airport, $720,000
Lucas -- pavement maintenance and repair and development planning, $132,270
Mankato -- pavement maintenance and repair, $117,000
McPherson – turf runway rehabilitation, $60,750
Parsons – design of airfield maintenance and repair, $9,500
Rose Hill – pavement maintenance and repair, $7,200
Salina – design and pavement maintenance and repair, $428,990
St. Francis – airfield safety equipment replacement, $37,800
Syracuse – pavement maintenance and repair, $27,000
Wellington – design pavement maintenance and repair, $71,250

Winfield / Arkansas City -- pavement maintenance and repair, $267,650