Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tire Safety in the Summer


Summer is a great time for traveling.  It’s important to maintain safe tires to ensure safe travels, and having the right tire type for the summer months is essential.
There are three types of tires: snow/winter, summer and all-season. Be mindful of what type of tire is on your vehicle to ensure proper motor care.

Summer tires are a great option for safe and efficient driving in the warmer months. 

  • The tread on summer tires offers smooth and soundless rides in dry or wet environments.
  • Summer tires also have harder compound then snow tires which gives them a good grip in dry and wet weather conditions.
All-season tires are a great option for those in moderate climates
  • They can be used for all driving conditions
  • Provides traction in regular winter driving conditions but not as well as snow tires, which should be used in severe winter weather operates well in warmer weather but with less grip then a summer tire.
 
Research and find out what tires work best and offer the most comfortable and long-lasting rides to carry you through all your summer travels.
 
Another important aspect of summer tire safety is maintaining one’s tires through proper tire care.

Here are a few tips for motorists on keeping tires in their best traveling condition:

Check Tire Air Pressure
  • An important aspect of tire safety is checking the air pressure of your tires and making sure all tires are properly inflated. The pressure of each tire should be checked at least once a month, depending on frequency of travel. 
  • To check the pressure of your tire, remove tire cap and press a tire gauge on it, there may be a slight puff of air, read the air pressure number and then secure the cap on again.
Check the Wear on Tread
  • To examine the tread on your tires for wear use an upside-down penny and place it between the tire grooves. If the top of Lincoln’s head is showing then it means the tread is worn and it’s time to replace your tires.
 
The penny test: The top of Lincoln's head is slightly covered by the tread on this tire.
The tread is then considered to be in good condition.

Wheel Rotation
  • Rotating your tires regularly ensures that the tire rubber won’t wear out as quickly. Always be mindful of the condition of tires and make sure the rubber on the tires is safe and stable.

Check out the video below on some great summer driving tips.


  
Keep a Spare Tire in Your Car

  • Always keep a spare tire in your car in case of potential flat tires. To maintain safety when changing tires, it’s important to educate yourself on how-to properly change flat tires along roadside.
  • Things you’ll need are, a spare tire, lug wrench, jack and bricks or rocks. To see how a tire is changed, check out the video below.


If you are stuck on the side of the road and need additional help, contact Motorist Assist, which is a program dedicated to helping motorist stranded on roadways. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, The Motorist Assistance Program covers four metro areas in Kansas: Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita and Salina. KDOT supports this program, and both agencies work together to prevent additional travel impediments, as a result of roadside emergencies, and keep travelers safe.

 Each service vehicle is staffed by a Kansas Highway Patrol civilian employee. You can contact the Motorist Assist Program by dialing *47 to reach the Kansas Highway Patrol *KTA (582) while on the Kansas Turnpike

Remember to give all emergency vehicles and workers room. Move over or slow down when you see flashing lights or sirens.



Monday, May 29, 2017

Motoring Mondays: Chapel of the Veterans


The Chapel of the Veterans is located on the grounds of the Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth. Courtesy Photo.


The Chapel of the Veterans is located on the grounds of the Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth. It was built in 1893 to provide for veterans of the Civil War. The facility is now a National Historic Landmark.
It’s the only church in the U.S. where Protestant and Catholic religious services could be conducted at the same time. This duo use earned the Chapel a place in Ripley's Believe It or Not in the 1920s.
The chapel was built with long, thin clay bricks with Gothic arched windows and doorways. It also has 11 tubular bells (rarely used) and three gargoyles. 
The chapel is open on weekdays – for more information, visit http://www.kansastravel.org/chapeloftheveterans.htm

Thursday, May 25, 2017

#IAMKDOT: Larry Walker


This month’s #IAMKDOT feature is Larry Walker, who is an Equipment Operator Senior at the Independence Subarea. This year, Larry will celebrate 39 years with the Kansas Department of Transportation.  

During his employment with KDOT, Larry has proven that he is dedicated to keeping Kansans safe. His coworkers said that whenever he receives a phone call for emergency work, he is quick to respond and report to duty within minutes.

Because his father Carl “Corky” Walker, was also a long time KDOT employee, Larry had an early association and understanding about the dedication it takes to work at this agency.  

Larry has been married to his wife, Tracy, for 35 years. They have three daughters and six grandchildren. During his spare time, he is an avid deer hunter and fisherman. He also has a lawn care business and maintains several yards in the summer months throughout the Independence community.

#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! 


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Grand opening celebrates completion of scenic overlook

Attendees of the grand opening of the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway Overlook put the structure to good use as they look out over Cheyenne Bottoms. 


Earlier this week, Barton County celebrated the grand opening of the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway Overlook along K-4, which sits atop 100-foot bluffs encircling the Cheyenne Bottoms basin on all three sides.
A view of Cheyenne Bottoms
The Cheyenne Bottoms is a wetland area located in Barton County and the largest inland marsh in the United States. It is a critical stopover place for migratory birds and waterfowl. 

Construction of this project began earlier this spring. Federal funds were provided through the Kansas Department of Transportation for the construction, engineering and inspection costs of this project. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism shared the design costs with Barton County. 

Barry McManaman, Barton County Engineer, said that the event went well despite the wet weather. Approximately 40 people, including representatives from KDOT, KDWPT, and Barton County, along with members of the public, braved the rain to attend the ribbon cutting.
Attendees of the grand opening of the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway Overlook put the structure to good use as they look out over Cheyenne Bottoms.
McManaman said that this scenic overlook would be a big attraction for not only for local residents, but also those traveling the wetlands.

“We anticipate there will be quite a few people who will stop in to see the Cheyenne bottoms,” McManaman said. “It’s been a project a long time in the making, and the Barton County Commissioners are thrilled to see it done. It’s a pretty neat facility and we are pleased with the way it turned out.”


Attendees of the grand opening of the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway Overlook put the structure to good use as they look out over Cheyenne Bottoms.
The Kansas Wetlands Education Center oversees interactive exhibits, education programs and outreach with both the Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife refuge.

Curtis Wolf, the site manager for the KWEC, said that the addition of the overlook would benefit visitors.

“It’s a good thing to have here because it is another attraction that we are able to utilize and provide for our visitors,” Wolf said. “We can tell them about the overlook and provide them with directions so they can visit it on their own.”

Cheyenne Bottoms Kiosk. 

Wolf said that the overlook will also be used with the van tours now that improvements have been made and additional projects are planned to compliment the location.

“We are going to be doing some exhibit renovations in the next year. And all of these improvements go to better the visitor experience,” Wolf said.

Wolf said that the partnership between the state, KWEC, and local entities made this project possible.

“From the KWEC’s standpoint we appreciate the various entities that came together to cooperate and continue to add features to the wetlands and help the visitors experience them the best they can,” Wolf said. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Riding for those who can't: Run for the Wall stops in Kansas

More than 300 Run for the Wall participants enter the service area under the American and Kansas flags. 

They ride for those who can’t. The 29th annual Run for the Wall began last week in Ontario, Calif., and more than 300 motorcyclists rolled through Kansas, making several stops along I-70. The Kansas Turnpike Authority’s Topeka  EZ-Go service area hosted riders yesterday where they were welcomed by the  KTA, Kansas ABATE chapter and KDOT and the riders were able to refuel and were given water with the  KTA donating $500 of gasoline to the riders. Check out a video of Monday's stop that also features some of the participants -

The KTA donated $500 of gasoline to the riders. 

Run for the Wall recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of veterans who served our nation. According to the Run for the Wall website, www.rftw.us,  the ride promotes healing among all veterans and their loved ones.

Vietnam War Veteran Billl Zimmerman said that part of the reason for the ride is to pay respects to the Vietnam Wall and what it represents.

“It means personal feeling toward the veterans that give up their lives for the country,” Zimmerman said. 

More than 300 Run for the Wall participants stopped at the KTA service area to refuel on their journey across country. 


Dallas Hageman has participated in the Run for the Wall for 10 years and said that the ride exists to honor and recognize those who were Killed in Action, Prisoners of War, or who are Missing in Action.

“We ride for those who can’t,” Hageman said. “So up at the front of the pack we have an open spot we call, ‘The Missing Man Spot,’ and we are all there for that one guy or gal that can’t be there.”

Hageman said that while some riders are not veterans, they ride as a way to say, “thank you,” to those who have served.

 “This is the best way I have found, as a civilian, to give back a very, very small  portion of what they have given to me and that’s my freedom,” Hageman said.
A Run for the Wall participant stops at KTA's Topeka service area.

Ron Maston said that this ride also exists to provide all veterans the opportunity to get their own “welcome home.”

“We are making sure they realize that we appreciate them, that their service meant something and that we are standing behind them all the way,” Maston said.  “It’s an amazing experience for those that participate. To see the healing and the impact on our veterans as we go across the country and to see the outpouring of patriotism, which is still a very strong item in this country.” 

Ride for the Wall began in 1989 and was started by two Vietnam Veterans, James Gregory and Bill Evans, who raised awareness about the thousands of men and women who are still unaccounted for from all wars.

“We don’t give political speeches or stage demonstrations,” the website said. “RFTW gets its message to the public by riding across the United States: coast to coast. 

Bikes line up after receiving fuel before returning to the road. 


The trip is a 10-day journey consisting of three different routes. Each route will come together at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the Run for the Wall officially ends.  Along the way, riders are able to stop at various memorials, veteran’s hospitals, schools and parades. 

Run for the Wall riders leave KTA's Topeka service area and return to the road. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Pollinator Preservation Part I: KDOT plants wildflowers and more

A Monarch Butterfly rests atop a flower. Courtesy photo


There is a lot of buzz going around about the fact that several pollinator species are declining at surprising rates. The Kansas Department of Transportation, along with many other state DOTs in the Midwest, are doing something to change that.

KDOT’s Environmental Program Administrator Scott Shields said that KDOT is planting wildflower seed and milkweed plugs to benefit many pollinator species such as bees, wasps and butterflies.

“We have a pilot project and have planted approximately 15 acres of wildflower seed on the three plots around the safety rest areas southwest of Ottawa along I-35,” Shields said.
Engineering Technician Specialist through KDOT Right of Way Melissa Davidson said that this project is part of the Monarch Highway.
A poster illustrating the Monarch Highway. 

“This is an initiative launched in 2015 to create a multi-state partnership that brings together state transportation agencies and other partners along I-35 to catalyze conservation actions along the I-35 corridor and its neighboring communities that enhance habitat and engage people,” Davidson said.

Davidson said that KDOT was awarded a grant from the Monarch Joint Venture, a partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental agencies, and academic programs who are all working together to protect monarchs and their migration.


KDOT planted a wildflower mix which consisted of 23 different species. 
According to Davidson, the Monarch Joint Venture provided KDOT with 1152 milkweed plugs, consisting of three varieties: common, butterfly and antelope horn milkweed. Feyh Farms out of Alma provided KDOT’s wildflower mix, which consists of 23 different species of wildflowers and legumes.

Davidson said that the site will attract many pollinators such as butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, beetles, moths and even bats.

“These pollinators are necessary for crop and native plant pollination, which is crucial to the ecosystem,” she said. “Several butterfly and bee species are in decline, or have disappeared from parts of their range because of habitat loss. It is imperative to protect our natural environment to ensure the success of pollinators.”

Pollinators may not be the only ones who benefit and enjoy this site.


“The mix, once established, will provide a year-round color and blooming enjoyment for the traveling public,” Davidson said. “Patience is key when planting native wildflowers. It may take two to three growing seasons for them the be fully established and blooming.”

Check back in a few weeks when we see how some of these plants are doing! 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sharing the road: It’s our responsibility


Earlier this month we shared that Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation declaring that the month of May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.

Sharing the road is all drivers’ responsibility. Motorists are required to share the road with all types of vehicles, from the small 10-speed bicycle to the large 18-wheeler semi-trucks.  Today we will discuss how to share the road with motorcycles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, motorcycles have the same rights to the road as any other vehicle. Driving safely in the company of motorcycles does require extra caution.

Due to their size, motorcycles can be more difficult to see. This can make it difficult to judge their distance and speed. Giving an extra three to four seconds while following behind these vehicles is the best way to give them time to maneuver or stop if an emergency were to arise. Keep in mind that since motorcycles are smaller than cars or trucks, they come to a full stop much more quickly than other vehicles.

Despite the smaller size of motorcycles, a full lane width is still required when traveling around them. Just because it may appear that there is a great deal of extra space doesn’t mean that the lane can be safely shared.

Motorcycles may be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Check all mirrors and always look twice before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections. Motorcyclists are encouraged to be safe and be seen by wearing bright colors and a helmet to avoid head injuries.

One of the best ways to avoid a tragedy is though communication. Always signal what you intend to do before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This will signal to the motorcyclist what to expect so they can adjust accordingly.




Remember: Getting behind the wheel of any vehicle requires a sense of responsibility, and it is up to all of us to share the road.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

“Click it. Or ticket.” campaign seeks to stop preventable traffic deaths


WICHITA, Kan. – As summer kicks off and families hit the road for vacations, Kansas Department of Transportation officials and law enforcement agencies across the state are reminding motorists to Click it. Or ticket.  The statewide seat belt enforcement crackdown runs from May 22 through June 4, concurrent with one of the busiest travel and holiday weekends of the year. More than 150 law enforcement agencies across the state will be on the lookout day and night.
“This effort starts with you,” said Chris Bortz, KDOT Traffic Safety Program Manager. “It’s your responsibility to make sure every passenger is buckled up. On the drive to zero fatalities, you are in the driver’s seat.”
Officials from KDOT, the Kansas Turnpike Authority, and the Kansas Highway Patrol detailed the 2017 campaign at a news conference at the Towanda Service Area, off I-35 near Wichita.  Featured speaker, Vonnie Rickerson, of Fort Scott, shared her personal story of seeing seat belts save lives, and seeing crashes take lives away.
“When I was eight years old, our school bus passed beside a wreck,” Rickerson said.  “I’ll never forget the crashed vehicle I saw from my window seat.  The driver was not wearing a seat belt. The impact of the crash caused the driver to fly forward, hitting the steering wheel and dislodging her heart. She died instantly. The driver of the vehicle was my mom.”
Rickerson shed tears as she continued. It was July 2016 when she drove up to another, all-too-familiar crash scene. This time, her 15-year-old daughter and her daughter’s friend were inside the mangled car.
“I can't express all of the emotions I felt as I drove through the horrific scene of the crash, then seeing a crumpled car that I didn't think anybody could walk away from,” she said.  “I was sure we had lost our babies.”
After hitting a tree, the car rolled twice and flipped end to end.  When it finally came to rest, it was unrecognizable. Her daughter Hallie was unresponsive and was taken by helicopter to the hospital an hour away. But this time, both teens were wearing seat belts. And just two weeks later, they were back to living their lives.  
“I believe with all my heart that seat belts saved the lives of my daughter and her friend that day,” Rickerson said. “And I believe if my mom had been wearing a seat belt the day of her wreck, she may have lived as well.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 22,441 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2015 were unrestrained. At night (from 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.), that number soared to 57 percent of those killed. During the Click It. Or Ticket campaign, law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.
In Kansas, 127 of those who died in passenger vehicle crashes were not using a seat belt. Nationally, almost twice as many males were killed in crashes compared to females. Of the males killed in crashes in 2015, 52 percent were unrestrained. For females killed in crashes, 42 percent were not buckled up.
“We want travelers to do the one thing that gives them the best chance of surviving a serious crash: buckling up,” said Jason Weber, KTA Roadway Operations Manager. “If this enforcement campaign makes more people aware of the dangers of unrestrained driving and they begin to buckle up, we’ll consider it a success.”

“Many of us know someone who was killed in a crash because they did not buckle up,” said Technical Trooper Ben Gardner, Kansas Highway Patrol.  “Please, help us spread this life-saving message before one more friend or family member is killed as a result of this senseless inaction. Seat belts save lives, and everyone – front seat and back, child and adult – needs to remember to buckle up, every trip, every time.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

National Police Week: E Pluribus Unum


Guest column by Capitol Police Lieutenant Crystal J. Golightley

It was an honor to have been given the opportunity to travel to our nation’s capital, and to have participated in the National Police Week, May 11 – May 17, 2014.  I was able to honor not just the 10 fallen brothers of our own from the Kansas Highway Patrol, but to have honored the many other names that are etched in stone every year.  The experience was humbling to say the least. During some of the sight-seeing there was a phrase I heard that I’ve heard many times over the years.  I’ve seen it in history books, and read the definition conceded by the leaders that formed our great nation.  The traditionally understood meaning of the phrase, E Pluribus Unum, was that out of many states, (or colonies) emerged a single nation. This phrase became the center of my focus for the 2014 National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., as it fit so much of the atmosphere that the community was honoring.

Naturally because I am a law enforcement officer, and I traveled to D.C. for Police Week, I paid particular attention to the local area law enforcement as a spectator.  I observed several area agencies working alongside each other for what appeared to be a multiple vehicle accident investigation.  Another incident was a car stop. E Pluribus Unum, many agencies working side by side with one precise goal.  

It was noticeable that it was police week in D.C. by the numerous law enforcement officers who were walking around.  Some I could identify because they were in uniform, others had their badges displayed, and then there were those that I just knew were law enforcement because they had “that look” about them.  The first place I visited was the National Law Enforcement Memorial.  I spent a lot of time walking through the memorial.  I looked at every photo, and I read every story card.  I found myself searching for the names I knew, and remembering my own personal memories.  I thought about how their lives and the lives of their loved ones were changed forever in a matter of half seconds.  My heart ached for the children who left letters for their moms and dads by their names.  I felt an overwhelming sense of pride to be standing among the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Those names, those officers, and their stories have become national symbols of heroism.  Still, I couldn’t shake the unimaginable feeling of sympathy for the loved ones of those names who must find the strength to continue to live their lives without their hero from that day on.

I did some sightseeing during my visit, and I was genuinely surprised at the hospitality of the community to the visiting law enforcement officers.  It was remarkable to see citizens waving with smiles on their faces, the general public happy to have us visiting the area.  Meeting other law enforcement from different states and agencies was a positive experience.

I attended the Candlelight Vigil during one of the evenings.  It was best described as a breathtaking sight.  Officers from across the United States, Canada, and England were on site to welcome and escort the families of the fallen officers as they were bused in.  The ceremony was presented perfectly; heart touching stories were shared, and songs were sang.  For as far as I could see in all directions there were law enforcement, family members, and supporters all standing shoulder to shoulder as the light of the candles were passed throughout.  The flames represented the names on the memorial wall, and then the thin blue light was lit.  E Pluribus Unum.  That sea of candlelight represented the union of a profession mourning our losses as one.  I listened as I watched a mother explain to her small child that the “blue light is shown to help guide the souls of the officers to heaven.” We said a prayer for their souls.   During the entire event there was a profound sense of unity.

The 2014 National Law Enforcement Memorial was held on the lawn of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.  I watched as the police motorcades from all parts of the U.S. escorted buses into the area.  When we were called to attention, and the bagpipes began to play it was amazing how the entire area of thousands of people became silent.  The families of the fallen were escorted through the walkway made by officers dressed in their best, standing shoulder to shoulder to salute the families in honor the fallen heroes.  This continued for over an hour until the last family member was seated.  The unified respect was remarkable.  Again, E Pluribus Unum.  Out of many officers representing many different agencies, we all came to one place and stood together as one entity to honor those who were lost together.

I left D.C. in awe of the events, in awe of the camaraderie, and in awe of the brother/sisterhood across the nation.  I left with a desire to return to my home agency and continue to serve my community with integrity, assist my fellow co-workers by being diligent, and staying focused.  I am deeply proud of my profession, and I want to honor those heroes daily by being one of the many who want to make a difference in the life of just one person. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

KDOT unites with strategic partners for UAS

KDOT Director of UAS,  Bob Brock, (center) and Director of Aviation, Merrill Atwater (right) meet with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and other visitors at the Xponential 2017 conference in Dallas, Texas

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Division of Aviation visits Dallas, Texas this week for the largest gathering of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry leaders in the world at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s (AUVSI’s) Xponential 2017. Over 7000 industry professionals and 850 exhibitors unite to participate in a 3 day workshop and exhibition.
“This is great opportunity to showcase Kansas as a leader in UAS, continue the growth of this segment and foster strong relationships in UAS,” said KDOT Director of Aviation, Merrill Atwater.
“Xponential allows us to highlight the outstanding talent and expertise we have in Kansas. There’s an obvious reason we are called the ‘Air Capital of the World,’” he added.

Participants in the Xponential conference visit KDOT's Division of Aviation display. 
KDOT Director of UAS, Bob Brock stated, “Xponential is an ideal venue for established aviation leaders from Kansas to meet the UAS industry and continue our rich history in aviation.
Kansas is building on its established leadership in aviation, working in conjunction with in-state partners to promote the UAS industry, including:
·              Kansas Department of Agriculture
·              Kansas Department of Commerce
·              Kansas State University
·              Greater Wichita Partnership
·              Salina Community Economic Development Office
·              University of Kansas  
Kansas Aviation activity accounts for $20.6 billion in economic impact. Over 700 aerospace and aviation companies live and work together in the Sunflower State. Ninety-two percent (92%) of Kansas airports support flight training and over 60% have aviation outreach programs. Aviation activity supports over 91,000 high-paying jobs in the state.
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. The state’s rich aviation history is built on a century of aircraft production. Over 73% of the world’s general aviation fleet is manufactured in Kansas.


The Kansas Department of Transportation Division of Aviation demonstrated Kansas' important leadership role in the aviation industry at the Xponential conference in Dallas, Texas. Pictured in this photo: Halee Lindstrom, (far left) Bob Brock, Merrill Atwater, Lindsey Dreiling and Greg Chenoweth

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pedal power



Today is National Bike to School day and students across the country are using pedal power to make it to classes this morning.  Biking to and from locations is a great way to exercise, save on fuel and it can be a lot of fun! But before you hop right back on that bike seat there are a few things that you may not know when it comes to riding your bike safely and legally. 

Before you read any further, we challenge you to check your bicycle riding knowledge with KDOT’s “How Well Do You Know How to Ride?” quiz.

Let’s address just a few of those questions with some bicycle safety tips:

Wear a properly fitted helmet: This isn’t your ordinary fashion accessory. This is the most effective way to prevent a serious head injury in the event of a bicycle crash.  According to Safekids.org there are a few ways you can check to ensure your helmet fits properly.

EYES check: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.

EARS check: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a "V" under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.

MOUTH check: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.

Be safe. Be seen. Wear bright colors:  Regardless of the time of day, it is important to wear bright colors and reflectors so that you can be easily seen easier by motorists. According to Kansas Law, if you are biking at night you should use a headlight on the front of your bike and a red reflector on the rear of your bike. A rear red light emitting a red light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet may also be used.

Ride WITH traffic, not against it: This one is actually confusing to a lot of people. An easy way to remember this tip is remember the two Ws. If you are using WHEELS you ride WITH traffic.

Use Hand signals and obey all traffic signs.

Young children should have supervision when riding:
Make it a family event, and ride alongside the children. Safekids.org suggests limiting children under 10 years old to
sidewalks. Regardless of their age make sure they are safe and understand the importance of staying alert. Help them to look out for cars and other vehicles. Check out or 10 Simple steps for Bicycle Safety Chart for more information:

 


For more information about bicycle statutes in Kansas check this webpage:
https://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burRail/bike/BicycleStatutes.asp

And check out these links for more bicycle safety tips:

https://www.safekids.org/tip/bike-safety-tips

https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicyclists

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

KDOT calls for Transportation Alternative Program projects


The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) is calling for projects for the 2017 and 2018 Transportation Alternatives (TA) Program.
The TA Program, as administered by the department, provides funding for a variety of alternative transportation projects. These include pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure for non-driver access to public transportation, projects that enhance mobility for bicyclists and pedestrians, improvements to the scenic or environmental assets in our state, Safe Routes to School projects, and others. An estimated $18 million in federal funds are anticipated to be available over the course of two Calendar Years. All selected projects will be required to meet a 20% local cash match.
KDOT’s 2017 and 2018 TA Program Guidance & Application Packet, which includes timeline, application, eligibility, scoring criteria, and project selection notes, is available for download at: https://www.ksdot.org/bureaus/burtransplan/TransAlt.asp
Important Dates:
Monday, May 8, 2017 – Call for Projects announced and website will be live with application and guidance documents.

Monday, May 15, 2017, 9 am – 12 pm – TA Workshop in Topeka at KDOT headquarters, 700 SW Harrison, 4th Floor Auditorium A & B.  This will be geared toward eligible Project Sponsors.  Space is limited; please RSVP by 2 pm on May 12, 2017 to Matthew.Messina@ks.gov.

KDOT will host this workshop to inform eligible Project Sponsors about the process and go over changes from past Calls for Projects.  Staff from various state and federal agencies will be available to discuss TA program categorical information and the project application process.

Friday, July 7, 2017 4:00pm – Applications are due (5 paper copies and one digital copy in PDF format) mailed to KDOT headquarters:

Attn: Matthew Messina, 700 SW Harrison St. 2nd Floor, Topeka, KS 66603

July, 2017 – September, 2017 – Site Visits for all projects.

November, 2017 – Final selections by KDOT and announcement of awards.

For more information, please contact Matt Messina at Matthew.Messina@ks.gov or call 785.296.7448.


Monday, May 8, 2017

iBuild Showcase demonstrates industry careers

Middle school students learn how to set up portable work zone signage and how they can help travelers navigate through road construction si

More than 1,000 middle school and high school students in the Kansas City Metropolitan area had the opportunity to meet with transportation industry professionals and learn about various construction industry careers at the iBuild Showcase that was took place at Bartle Hall in Kansas City on Thursday, May 4. 



High school students had the opportunity to climb inside KDOT vehicles and see how they operate from the inside.

KDOT crew members shared what it is like to work for the agency, what they see on a daily basis in work zones, and how to operate the various equipment and vehicles. 

The students learned how the dump truck and attenuator works as well as how the hopper and plow can be used in the event of a snow storm.  Staff allowed the students to see what they see from the driver’s seat and demonstrated how to keep the public informed with lights and portable signage.    

High school students had the opportunity to climb inside KDOT vehicles and see how they operate from the inside.

Students also learned ways to stay safe and keep others safe while on the road, including  driving without distractions, slowing down in work zones, and giving KDOT crews the space they need to work.. Some students even commented on ways that they could take that safety messaging home to their parents. 


Students learned important work zone safety messaging through a trivia game at the iBuild Showcase. 

Other construction interactive programs, such as forklifts, 3-D printers, various construction materials and augmented reality programs were also on display for exploration. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

U.S. 169 project and others approved for April letting


A project to construct a right-turn lane on the west leg of the intersection of U.S. 169 and 175th Street is one of the projects approved for KDOT’s April letting.  Mega Industries Corporation, of N Kansas City, Mo., is the contractor on the $362,000 project.
The work consists of several improvements such as:
sUpgrading the traffic signal poles serving 175th Street to include a protected/permissive signal (four-section head) over the existing left turn lanes. 
sUpgrading all signal heads to LED and adding battery backup to the traffic signal system. 
sAdding interconnection with the signal operation – this includes flashing beacons for 175th traffic signals and 199th traffic signal approaches.

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

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring snow storm recap


KDOT crews across Western Kansas worked to clear the roads  during the snow storm that took place last weekend. This photo is from U.S. 83 south of Garden City. Photo courtesy of  Leland Hunsley

We’ve all heard the saying “April showers bring May flowers.” For the eastern half of the state, the month of April ended with plenty of rain but some Kansans were bombarded with several inches of snow over the weekend.


Western Kansas received several inches of snow  over the weekend. KDOT crews worked to clear the roads and keep Kansas moving. Courtesy photo. 


This rare mid-spring snow storm prompted road and highway closures across Western Kansas due to weather conditions, reduced visibility, and lodging concerns. Several communities lost power for periods of time during the storm.

Parts of Northwest Kansas received approximately 20 inches of snow. This photo shows
The process of clearing I-70 near Levant.  

 Some parts of Northwest Kansas received approximately 20 inches of snow, and the precipitation amounts in extreme Southwest Kansas were also more than a foot.

Lisa Knoll, the KDOT Public Affairs Manager from the District Office in Garden City, said KDOT crews faced high winds, power outages, downed power poles, and high snow drifts while clearing the roads. Loose livestock in Kearny County created additional problems.


“Livestock often end up loose due to downed fences or snow drifts high enough for the cows to cross,” Knoll said. “Approximately 40 cows got loose Saturday night and crossed U.S. 50 and wandered into Lakin. They spent Sunday afternoon wandering and then spent the night in a backyard before being corralled Monday afternoon.”


Due to high snow drifts, livestock in Kearney County were able to escape and visit Lakin for
several hours before being rounded up. Courtesy photo

Knoll also said that KDOT crews assisted stranded motorists while clearing the roadways.
In an article by the Wichita Eagle, Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Tod Hileman said that as of Sunday Evening, more than 30 motorists reported “slide-outs” in Northwest Kansas and there had been at least two non-injury crashes.


KDOT crews across Western Kansas worked to clear the roads  during the snow storm that took place last weekend. This photo is from U.S. 83 south of Garden City. Photo courtesy of  Leland Hunsley

While spring snow storms may not happen often, this weekend proved that weather conditions in Kansas can be unpredictable. Motorists need to be prepared for the unexpected and monitor road conditions before traveling long distances.

KDOT crews across Western Kansas worked to clear the roads  during the snow storm that took place last weekend. This photo is from U.S. 83 south of Garden City. Photo courtesy of  Leland Hunsley

You can be prepared by accessing www.kandrive.org or by calling 511 to stay up to date on Kansas road conditions that may be impacted by weather or construction delays.