Thursday, August 17, 2017

Safety tips for the Great American Solar Eclipse

August 21, or “The Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017” as it has been dubbed by some, is sure to be a memorable day as people celebrate this exciting astronomical event.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly in front of the sun, darkening the sky. According to NASA’s website, the sun will be completely obstructed from view for about 2 minutes and 43 seconds. For this reason, Kansas Department of Transportation encourages travelers to take safety precautions and prepare for a safe place to stay and view the event.

Are you planning on traveling to reach the best view of the eclipse in Kansas? According to Topeka Capital-Journal, “In Kansas, the path of totality will cross Hiawatha, Atchison, Leavenworth, and on the very edge, Kansas City. Topeka will experience a partial eclipse, with Holton being on the outermost edge of the path of totality.” The path of totality is the area where the sun will be completely blocked from view.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 200 million people live within driving distance of the eclipse’s path of totality. An increase in traffic and travel time is expected on August 21.

Some safety measures to be aware of are included in the list below. Please read carefully and be safe this August 21 – but don’t forget to enjoy this one-in-a-lifetime experience!

  • Do not pull over to the side of the highway to observe the eclipse. Exit the highway to a safe location to view and/or photograph the event.
  • Do not take photos while driving - KDOT reminds motorists to always maintain full awareness when driving to help maintain safety for all other drivers and pedestrians.
  • Do not wear opaque eclipse glasses while driving.
  • Be prepared for potential traffic congestion before, during, and after the event - While only the northeast corner of the state will be in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, the rest of Kansas will still see part of the astronomical event.
  • Turn on vehicle headlights and do not rely solely on automatic headlights during the eclipse. - Because the sky will be darkened, the use of headlights during the eclipse will be needed.  
  • Pack an emergency travel kit - Check out our blog here for a list of suggested items to include in your safety kit.
  • Plan ahead for fuel needs - Always remember to keep your gas tank full during long trips.

To all our Kansas motorist and travelers: check the weather and plan accordingly - make sure to dress properly and be fully prepared for potential weather incidents when driving long distances. Check for road conditions affected by the weather or construction.

Excited to learn more? Visit the NASA website at to learn more about #SolarEclipse2017.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: Multi-phase bridge project along I-70

Work continues on the multi-phase bridge project along I-70 in Ellis County. The project is expected to be completely finished in December, weather permitting. 
Work is progressing on a multi-phase bridge project along I-70 in eastern Ellis County.

Both the east and westbound bridges carrying I-70 over Old Highway 40 and the Union Pacific railroad near Walker have undergone major renovations. The project started in fall 2016 with the installation of temporary crossovers in preparation for the bridge deck replacements and concrete patching and overlays that have taken place this spring and summer.

The eastbound portion was completed at the end of July and work is currently taking place on the westbound structures. Work is expected to be finished by the end of October. The temporary crossovers will then be removed and the project completely finished in December.

Bridges Inc. of Newton is the primary contractor with a total project cost of approximately $2 million.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

KDOT deploys first statewide drone traffic management initiative in the nation

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday, Aug. 8, that it is partnering with AirMap, Inc. to deploy the first statewide Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) initiative in the United States.
Through the AirMap UTM technology, Kansas will implement an airport notification and awareness system for drones. This airspace management system will be made available to airports across the state. Participating airports will be able to accept digital flight notices, communicate with drone operators, and prepare for UTM milestones on the horizon, such as automating airspace notification and authorization for commercial drone flights.
“Strong leaders set the pace, and we’re proud to see the rapid growth of Kansas UAS advance to a national level,” stated Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer. “This initiative continues a proud tradition of leadership and excellence in aviation.”
Kansas airports, state agencies, and higher education institutions across the state will receive access to the AirMap platform. Training will be offered to support local drone operations and provide safety-critical information.
“This partnership will support a strong foundation for air traffic safety in Kansas,” said Richard Carlson, Secretary of Transportation. “Together, we will foster an environment that allows unmanned systems to contribute to the state economy.”
AirMap is the world’s leading airspace management platform for drones. Millions of drones, hundreds of drone manufacturers and developers, and hundreds of airspace managers and stakeholders rely on AirMap’s airspace intelligence and services to fly safely and communicate with others in low-altitude airspace.

Aviation activity accounts for more than $20.6 billion in economic impact for the state, with over 73% of the world’s general aviation fleet manufactured in Kansas and more than 700 aerospace and aviation companies located here. More than 18 years of active UAS research – including one of the first UAS Bachelor’s degrees in the country – add to Kansas’s industry leadership. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Motoring Mondays: The Riverside Park and Ralph Mitchell Zoo

Monkey Island is a popular exhibit at the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence, KS
The Riverside Park and Ralph Mitchell Zoo is located in Independence.
     Since the early 20th century, the Riverside Park has been an asset to the community, with amusement attractions and beautiful landscapes.
     The park also features the Ralph Mitchell Zoo, which was added to the park in 1925. It features numerous animal exhibits, most notably, Monkey Island, which was famous for being the birth place of Miss Able, the first non-communist monkey launched into space in 1959.
     It’s a great place for field trips, wedding receptions or just a fun place to go with family or friends to spend the day in nature.
     The park is open every day from 9 a.m. thru 7 p.m.

Bears can be seen at the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence, KS
 To learn more about this historical park and zoo, visit Riverside Park and Ralph Mitchell Zoo.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Class is in session: Back to school safety tips

For many students across Kansas, the start of the school year is approaching. Motorists are encouraged to remember that students will soon be walking or biking to and from school, as well as entering or exiting buses and vehicles. Give yourself extra travel time and pay attention to help improve safety for everyone.

According to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than any other location. If you are dropping your child off at school, make sure you understand your school’s drop off and pick-up procedure.

When sharing the road with young pedestrians, it is important to keep the following in mind:
  • No matter where the pedestrians may be, always use extreme caution. Young students may not understand all the traffic laws and it’s up to motorists to avoid hitting them.
  • If a vehicle is stopped for pedestrians, don’t pass.
  • Use your eyes, and look out for children who may be playing in playgrounds, parks and residential areas.
  • When flashers are blinking in a school zone, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the intersection or crosswalk.
  • Don’t block crosswalks when stopped at a red light or preparing to turn. Forcing pedestrians to go around you is dangerous and puts them in the path of oncoming traffic.

Bicycling is one of the most popular ways that children travel to school. On certain roads, most bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles. Unfortunately, children riding bikes can be unpredictable and young bicyclists may not understand all the laws surrounding traffic safety. 

Because bikes are smaller than a normal vehicle, the following should be considered:

  • When passing a bicyclist, do so slowly and leave about 3 feet between the bicyclist and your vehicle.
  • Wait for riders coming from the opposite direction to pass before you turn left.
  • If you are turning right and a bicyclist is behind you, it better to let the bicyclist go through the intersection first before you finish making your turn.
  • Always use your blinkers to communicate with all forms of vehicles, especially bicyclists.
  • Young bikers can turn in front of cars with little to no warning and they may not be paying attention. Always stay alert.
  • When traveling in school zones, expect the unexpected. Check for bikes coming from behind parked cars and drive ways.

Some children rely on the school bus for transportation. If you find yourself behind a school bus, allow for greater distance between yourself and the larger vehicle. Doing so will give you more time to stop.

It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped and waiting for children to board or depart the vehicle. With that in mind, there are more things to remember when sharing the road with a school bus:

  • Stop far enough away from a school bus to allow the children to enter or depart safely. A 10-foot area around the bus can be the most dangerous for children.
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and stop arm is extending traffic MUST stop.
  • Be alert! Children can be unpredictable.

Parents or guardians of children should try to teach students ways they can improve safety during the school year and any time they need to interact with vehicles.

We wish all students who are starting their new school year the best of luck! And remember to always look left, then right and left again before crossing the street.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: Modernization project on K-7 in Cherokee County

Work on the final leg of the modernization project in Cherokee County. 

Work is progressing on the final leg of the T-WORKS modernization project on K-7 in Cherokee County. The entire improvement begins at the U.S. 400/K-7 junction at Cherokee and continues south for 11 miles to the U.S. 69/U.S. 160/K-7 junction at Columbus.

The project started in 2016 with the reconstruction of four miles between U.S. 400 and K-102. The southern seven-mile-long section, from K-102 south to Columbus, closed for construction in early June. The highway’s driving surface is being widened to 44 feet, with 12-foot lanes and 10-foot shoulders. Project activity includes major modifications to the existing highway alignment, grouting old mine shafts underneath the roadway, and bridge repairs.

At this point in construction the contractor is grading and building simple span bridges and box culverts on the closed section. The official detour route for K-7 traffic is signed along U.S. 160, U.S. 69/400 and U.S. 400.

Work on the final leg of the modernization project in Cherokee County. 

KDOT awarded the K-7 construction contract of $35.4 million to Koss Construction Company of Topeka. The road work is expected to be finished and K-7 reopened to traffic by mid-August 2018.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Contests aim to Put the Brakes on Fatalities

Kansas kids can win great prizes and learn about traffic safety by participating in poster and video contests as part of the annual Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day safety campaign.

Poster contest: For Kansas kids ages 5 to 13 - three statewide winners will each receive:
sKindle Fire Tablet and case from the Kansas Turnpike Authority;
s$50 gift card from Wal Mart;
s$50 Amazon gift card from the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store
Association of Kansas;
sMovie passes from AAA Kansas.

A total of 18 regional winners in the six regions and age groups (ages 5-7, ages 8-10 and ages 11-13) will receive a bicycle and a helmet from Safe Kids Kansas. Poster entries must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 22. Information and entry forms are available here.

Video contest: For Kansas teens in grades 8-12. Prizes include an iPad, a Go Pro and a DJI Osmo camera, and the school of the grand prize winner will receive $500 for its booster club. Video entries must be posted by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24. Information to submit entries is available here.

The Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Highway Patrol and other traffic safety organizations are sponsoring the contests.

Previous winners from the last years’ contest are listed below and can be found here

2016 Poster Contest Winners -
Northeast Kansas - Evangeline Ensign, Olathe; Austin Lamb, Osage City; Sierra de Koning, Axtell
North Central Kansas - Geni Turk, Barnes; Kelsay Mueller, Palmer; Jaydrian Jackson, Clifton
Northwest Kansas - Lucas Hansen, Almena; Christian Miller, Gorham; Makenzie Storz, Phillipsburg
Southeast Kansas - Brooklyn Green-Lawson, Riverton; Maelee Dunn, Galena; Thea Hetlinger, Parsons
South Central Kansas - Adain Smith, Andover; Von Woleslagel, Hutchinson; Natalie Williams, Great Bend
Southwest Kansas - Cadence Sherman, Meade; Kayleigh Flores, Moscow; David Doan, Garden City                               

2016 Video Contest winners –
sStudents from Wichita East High School won first place.
sStudents in Cardinal Productions at Eudora High School won second place. sStudents from Spring Hill Middle School won third place.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Motoring Mondays: U.S. 36 Highway Treasure Hunt

The U.S. 36 Highway Association sponsors the annual U.S. 36
Highway Treasure Hunt the third weekend in September.

The U.S. 36 Highway Association sponsors the annual U.S 36 Highway Treasure Hunt the third weekend of September. This year, it will be Sept. 15 thru 17. This event gives people the opportunity to shop garage and antique sales along U.S. 36. It spans 400 miles across the northern part of Kansas through 13 counties, from Cheyenne County to Doniphan County.

The event helps promote local businesses that are located along U.S. 36 which encourages motorist to travel and helps the economic welfare of the communities along the route. More than 35 towns participate in this event. Click here to see a short video highlighting the sales and other things to see along the route.

The history of the event is rooted in the Pony Express, which occurred from 1860-1861, and still follows the original route from St. Joseph, Mo., to Marysville.

U.S. 36. is the only Kansas highway with four geological regions on its route.

To learn more about this statewide event, visit the official website for US. 36 Highway Association. Maps of the sales locations in cities along U.S. 36 will be available later this month on this website as well.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Queue detection and warning system installation one of approved projects in July lettings

Railroad crossing on K-196 in Harvey County.
The installation of a queue detection and warning system at a railroad crossing on K-196 in Harvey County is one of the approved projects in KDOT’s July letting. The system warns eastbound approaching traffic to be prepared to stop if there is any vehicle stopped at the crossing.  Trucks require more breaking time than a standard vehicle, this system will be helpful for the approaching truck traffic by providing that advance warning.  The flashing beacons tied to the detection will warn all vehicles that they need to be prepared to stop.
Phillips Southern Electric Company Inc., of Wichita is the contractor on the $62,560 project.

To see all of the projects approved in July’s letting, click here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: U.S. 83 in Haskell County

In July 2016, work began on the construction of a new alignment of U.S. 83 and construction of an interchange at the junction of U.S. 83/U.S. 160/K-144 in Haskell County. Passing lanes are also being added to the new alignment of U.S. 83.

As work continues on the project , and traffic shifted to new alignment on Tuesday, July 25.  With the interchange close to completion, dirt work and some paving has also been completed on the approach ramps to the interchange. 

The project is expected to be completed in November.

Venture Corporation of Great Bend is the contractor on this $22.3 million project.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#IAMKDOT: Jason Dlugopolski

This month’s #IAMKDOT feature is Jason Dlugopolski who is an Equipment Operator Specialist in the Kansas City Metro Area. Jason began his career with KDOT in October 1999, as an Equipment Operator Trainee at the Lamar Subarea and has worked his way up to his current position in the agency.

“I was lucky to fall into a shop that I have really enjoyed working at through all these years,” Jason said.

When he is not working at KDOT, Jason is a part time instructor at Johnson County Community College where he teaches students how to receive their CDL. He is a husband, foster parent, father, brother and son, as well as a Knight of Columbus..

#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 today to get started! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Motoring Mondays: The Stauth Musuem

The Stauth Memorial Museum is located in Montezuma

The Stauth Memorial Museum is located in Montezuma and features exhibitions on history, art, science and more.

The museum presents the personal travel excursions of Claude and Donalda Stauth in the exhibition, Around the World.

In addition, the museum also offers special exhibitions and galleries, highlighting different features from renowned sources, both national and international, in the natural world.  

From hunters and conservationists, to those curious about history or science, the museum offers something for everyone, because it is full of information on natural wildlife and the world around us.
There are many exhibits at The Stauth Memorial Museum

The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Visit Stauth Memorial Museum today for a more in-depth look at this acclaimed Kansas museum.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two KDOT projects named regional winners in America's Transportation Awards Competition

Two major Kansas Department of Transportation projects that were completed in Overland Park and Lawrence last year were announced yesterday as regional winners in the 2017 America’s Transportation Awards competition.

An aerial view of the Johnson County Gateway I-35 and 95th Street Diverging Diamond Interchange. The JoCo Gateway tied for first in the "Operations Excellence, large project" category at the America's Transportation Awards.

KDOT’s Johnson County Gateway Phase 2 project, the first and largest design-build transportation project completed in Kansas, tied for first in the “Operations Excellence, large project” category. The K-10 South Lawrence Trafficway East Leg was selected the regional winner in the “Operations Excellence, medium project” category. Both projects will now be considered for inclusion as national finalists to compete for the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award.

An aerial view of the South Lawrence Trafficway at the Haskell Avenue Interchange in Lawrence. The SLT was the regional winner in the "Operations Excellence, medium project"  category at the America's Transportation Awards.

“These well-deserved awards are a testament to the excellence of Kansas highways,” said Gov. Sam Brownback. “Our state highway system is one of the best in the nation, and Kansas will continue to see the benefits from these projects for years to come as they serve commuters and facilitate commerce in vital economic corridors for the state.”

Aerial view of the I-35/I-435 Interchange two-lane flyover. The JoCo Gateway tied for first in the
"Operations Excellence, large project" 
category at the America's Transportation Awards
“Every project nominated in this competition represents the hard work and dedication of state DOTs across the country to meet the transportation needs of the communities we serve,” said David Bernhardt, president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation. “For 10 consecutive years, the America’s Transportation Awards have given state DOTs the recognition they deserve for providing the essential connections that keep people, goods and our economy moving forward.”

An aerial view of the South Lawrence Trafficway. The SLT was the regional winner in the "Operations Excellence, medium project"  category at the America's Transportation Awards
The Johnson County Gateway project included reconstruction and capacity improvements within the I-435, I-35 and K-10 interchange area along with improvements at several major local interchanges. Within the project area, there were 56 new lane miles added as well as 22 new and five rehabilitated bridges, including three new two-lane flyover bridge ramps and widened bridges on I-435 and I-35.

The South Lawrence Trafficway East Leg included construction of a new four-lane, six-mile freeway around the east side of Lawrence, connecting the existing K-10 with the new highway. Construction work included 24 bridges, 29.4 highway lane miles, 16.3 miles of local roads and three new interchanges.

The America’s Transportation Awards competition is celebrating its 10th year and is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: Scrub seal completed on K-51 in Morton County

A crack is shown on K-51 before the repair work.
K-51 in Morton County from the Kansas/Colorado state line east to the K-51/K-27 got a face-lift with a scrub seal followed by chip seal in June. According to Syracuse Construction Manager Larry Meyer, this was the first scrub seal project completed by District Six and only the third scrub seal completed in Kansas. 

The project was completed in just six days by Mid America Road Builders Inc. out of Platte City, Mo., at an approximate cost of $230,000. The work took six days to complete. 

Here is the crack after the asphalt emulsion oil is sprayed on the highway.
During a scrub seal, an asphalt emulsion oil is sprayed on the roadway and then “scrubbed” into the cracks with an emulsion scrub broom. Then a light-weight cover material is applied and rolled into the surface.  This is followed by a chip seal. 

Meyer was very impressed with this process as the scrub seal forced the asphalt material into the cracks sealing them better than the conventional sealing operation. In addition, the cracks were almost completely full after the chip seal on top of the scrub seal. 

The crack is filled after the scrub broom pushes the material into it..

Monday, July 24, 2017

Motoring Mondays: The Old Mill Museum Complex and Wild Dala Horses

Old Mill Museum located in Lindsborg - Courtesy Image

The Old Mill Museum Complex and Wild Dala Horses are located along The Prairie Trail Scenic Byway in Lindsborg.

The Old Mill Museum offers the opportunity to experience a roller mill in its original condition from the early 20th century. The Mill is open all year, Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wild Dala Horses PC: Jim Richardson of Small World Gallery.

For more information on the Mill, visit The Old Mill Museum.

 Lindsborg’s historical downtown is decorated with Wild Dala horses. They are dubbed one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Customs and created by local artists with inspiration by the traditional Dala shape. The horses are creatively named, such as, Hello Dala! And Fala the Dala Brick Road.

To see what people are saying about this popular Kansas attraction, visit Wild Dala Horse Herd, Lindsborg, Kansas.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Reminder: Speed Limit Enforcement Blitz this weekend

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Transportation has partnered with law enforcement agencies across the state to launch a tough new speed enforcement blitz statewide. The intensified enforcement effort against speeding drivers underscores the severity of the problem in cities and towns across Kansas.
“Speeding greatly reduces a driver’s reaction time,” said Chris Bortz, KDOT Traffic Safety Program Manager. “A speeding driver puts everyone on the road at a greater risk of a crash.”
On average in Kansas, 25 percent of fatal crashes are speed-related. Nationwide, speeding was a contributing factor in 27 percent of all fatal crashes, leading to more than 9,500 deaths, according to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
During campaign from July 21-23, officers will intensify enforcement of posted speed limits on Kansas roads, highways and interstates, targeting and ticketing speeding drivers.
“We’ll stop and cite anyone caught speeding—especially in construction zones and on interstates—where most of our speed-related crashes occur,” said Lt. Adam Winters with the Kansas Highway Patrol.
As speed increases, the severity of crashes increases, leading to a rise in fatalities and/or serious injuries. According to NHTSA, a crash on a road with a posted speed limit of 65 miles per hour or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 45 or 50 miles per hour, and nearly five times as likely to result in a fatality than a crash on a road with a speed limit of 40 miles per hour or below.

“On the drive to zero fatalities, you are in the driver’s seat,” Bortz said.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: Bridge Repairs on K-196 in Butler County

Work is underway on K-196 to upgrade and replace bridges in Butler County. 
On Feb. 27, the Kansas Department of Transportation began to upgrade/replace Dry Creek Bridge, Whitewater River Bridge and Diamond Creek on K-196 in Butler County. The bridges are located between Northwest Diamond Road/K-196 Intersection and Northwest Tawakoni Road/K-196 Intersection between the City of Potwin and the City of Whitewater.

All three original bridges have been torn down and pouring of the bridge deck for the eastern bridge began last week. 
Currently, all three original bridges have been torn down and removed. Project grading and seeding has been completed on each of the bridges and crews are focusing construction efforts from the east bridge to the western bridges. Pouring of the bridge deck for the eastern bridge began last week. On the western bridges, the contractor is driving piles and working on pier construction. Despite the early spring rains, the bridge replacement project is still scheduled to be completed and reopen the highway to unrestricted traffic by late November 2017, depending on delays due to adverse weather conditions.

The bridge replacement project is expected to be be completed and reopen to traffic by late November 2017.

 Until the highway is reopened, through traffic will continued to be affected by the bridge replacement project with the closure of K-196 and will be routed on an official state detour which will direct traffic through K-254 to I-135 instead of K-196.

King Construction Company from Hesston is the prime contractor for this $2,726,000 project, which is funded by T-WORKS, the transportation program passed by the Kansas Legislature.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

100 Deadliest Days

Summer may be halfway over, but there are still more than 50 days left of the most dangerous time of year for new teen drivers, ages 16-17.

As we enter the mid-point for the what American Automobile Association of Kansas (AAA Kansas) calls the “100 deadliest Days,” the Kansas Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers of all ages that fatal teen crashes are on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) in 2015, the number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes increased by more than 10 percent from the previous year.

One of the starkest nationwide trends that AAA Kansas found was new teen drivers are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a crash.

KDOT’s crash data says that drivers between the ages of 15-19 years old were involved in 11,348 crashes in 2015. Of those crashes, there were 2,732 injuries and 40 teen casualties.
According to AAA, three main factors contribute to these crashes:

Distracted Driving: Not paying attention to the road ahead is a huge contributing factor in teen crashes. According to AAA, 6 out of 10 crashes were the result of distracted driving.  The main distractions for teen drivers are talking with friends and using their cell phones while driving.

Not Using a Seat Belt: Teens who use their seatbelts are more likely to reduce their risk of being seriously injured or dying in a car crash. According to the latest data, 60 percent of teens who were killed in a car crash were not buckled up.

Speeding: Driving over the speed limit was a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal teen crashes.

There are many ways that we can encourage inexperienced drivers to travel safely.

Talk about safe driving: Simply talking about how to stay safe behind the wheel can be one of the best ways to ensure a young driver remembers key safety tips.

Lead by example: Drivers of all ages should remember that they are being observed by teens and kids who will one day take to the road in vehicles of their own. Experienced drivers should minimize risky behavior while driving, so novice drivers can learn what being safe behind the wheel looks like. Parents or guardians, create a parent-teen driving agreement like this one from AAA Kansas, that sets family rules for teen drivers.

If every driver practiced safe driving skills while behind the wheel, the 100 Deadliest Days could be the 100 Safest Days for teen drivers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Motoring Mondays: Cow Chip Throwing Capital, Russell Springs

Since 1955, Russell Springs has featured an annual cow chip throwing competition. Competitors from around the state gather to take part in the contest, which includes men’s, women’s and junior’s classes as well as politicians and VIP classes.

The event is part of the community’s Old Settlers’ Day celebration that also includes a parade and a junior rodeo.

  The Cow Chip Throwing Contest happens annually on Labor Day Weekend.

Participant in the Cow Chip Throwing Contest in Russell Springs

Winners of a previous Cow Chip Throwing Contest

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Work Zone Wednesday: Rebuilding after the fire

The grass has grown back, but the guard rail posts that
were burned in the fires are missing.
In March wildfires burned more than 400,000 acres in Clark County, killing livestock, destroying homes and threatening the community of Ashland. KDOT crews pitched in, closing roads and helping wherever they could.  Today, almost four months later, fences have been repaired, signs replaced, wheat cut and pastures are green again.

 Much still remains to be done, though, including guard rail replacement and repair in 17 different locations along K-34 and U.S. 160 in Clark County.  Many of the treated wood posts holding the guard rail were more than 30 years old and they burned quickly, leaving guard rails literally hanging by a bolt or two.  Some of the locations require guard rail replacement or repair on just one side of the road, but many require replacement on both sides.

 Collins & Hermann of St. Louis, Mo., is the contractor on this $325,000 project. 

Above and below, work is underway to replace the guard rail and the posts.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Emergencies happen: How to stay safe on the side of the road

During these busy summer months, you may encounter a stranded motorist on the side on the road or experience a disabled vehicle yourself. Blown tires and engine troubles are a fact of life while traveling. If you find yourself in either of these situations, the Kansas Highway Patrol has some tips to keep you safe.

If you experience a road side emergency and need to pull over do the following:

• Park your vehicle as far off the busy roadway as possible.

• Turn on your four-way emergency flashers (hazard lights).

• Stay in your vehicle until help arrives, especially at night or in inclement weather.

• If someone stops, crack your window and ask them to phone the police for assistance.

• If you must leave your vehicle along the highway, notify the police, sheriff or KHP of its location and the circumstances.

Remember, one of the best ways to prevent a roadside emergency is to maintain up-to-date maintenance on your vehicle.

What to do if you see someone who has a disabled car on the side of the road.

According to KHP, your personal safety is of utmost importance. If you see a stranded motorist on the roadside, do not stop your vehicle.

Instead, it is recommended that you call the KHP, or if you are traveling on the Kansas Turnpike, the Kansas Turnpike Authority and explain to them where you saw the stranded motorist. Here are the numbers below:

*47 to reach the Kansas Highway Patrol
*KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike

If you don’t have a phone, proceed to the next gas station or rest area to reach the numbers above.

If the vehicle’s emergency flashers are on, give them room. Slow down or move over if you can to avoid injuring the motorist or crashing into their stalled vehicle.

Visit the KHP’s Motor Assist Program to learn more about staying safe in a roadside emergency.

Want to know if your travel plans will be impacted by a crash or highway construction? Visit for Kansas Highway Conditions.

Share your roadside emergency stories with us in the comments. How did you stay safe?