Monday, December 31, 2018

Ring in the new year...safely!

This time tomorrow will be a brand new year! We know you will be you are celebrating 2019 tonight. And whether it is with your family, a night on the town with friends or a small get together at someone’s home, We want to remind drivers and passengers to be responsible while enjoying the festivities. Here are some tips to enjoying the holiday responsibly:

  • Never drive or ride with someone who is impaired or drowsy.
  • If you plan to consume alcohol, have a plan in place before you go. Know what you’ll do for a ride home, whether it is a ride service, public transportation, a designated driver or finding a place to stay. If you do consume alcohol:
    • Give someone your keys.
    • Don’t drink to impairment.
    • Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
    • Take the night off and serve as a designated driver for others.
  • Have an emergency kit in your vehicle and your phone charged in case of car trouble.

If you need help on a Kansas highway, call *47 for the Kansas Highway Patrol or call *KTA (*582) for the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Stay safe — no matter how you choose to travel

According to AAA more than 12 million Americans are expected to travel this week.
By Lisa Knoll, Public Affairs Manager for southwest Kansas

Once upon a time, holiday travel meant walking or riding a camel, donkey or horse to the traveler’s destination. As a result, travel during the holidays was usually limited to family or friends in the same town.  

Fast forward to today. Thanks to trains, planes and automobiles, anyone can now traverse the globe in less than 24 hours.  So it’s no wonder that over 12 million Americans are expected to travel this week and 90 percent of those will be travel by car, according to AAA.  

CityPASS reports that the today’s average long-distance holiday trip is 275 miles and that 43 percent of long-distance trips will be to visit family and friends.  Others will take advantage of the break from work, school and colder temperatures to travel to warmer locations such as Hawaii or Mexico.  

While the types of travel have evolved, technology also has changed how travel is booked, scheduled and experienced. It allows travelers to book, pay and check-in online, to pack less, experience more and overcome language barriers. 

No matter where you travel this holiday season or how you get there, KDOT wishes you and yours safe travels, happy holidays and a happy new year. Remember to wear your seat belts, slow down, pay attention and drive sober.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Improvements to I-70 wrap up just in time for the holidays

Improvements on a stretch of I-70 in Ellis County have wrapped up just in time for this year’s busy holiday travel season.

The project began in late July and spanned a 15-mile portion of the interstate, starting at Exit 159 at Hays and extending east to the Russell County line. Work included a mill and overlay on both the east and westbound driving lanes as well as resurfacing on the shoulders and exit and entrance ramps on five interchanges located along the project route. Crews also installed new pavement markings and rumble strips.

In addition to the Ellis County project, work on temporary crossovers I-70 in Gove County also has concluded for the year. The crossovers were constructed in preparation for the pavement replacement that will take place in 2019 and 2020.

Completion of these projects could not have come at a better time as a record-breaking number of Americans will be hitting the nation’s highways, skies and rails this holiday season. AAA expects upwards of 112.5 million travelers, up 4.4 percent from last year and the most since the organization began tracking holiday travel.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Holidays from KDOT!

Happy Holidays from KDOT! We hope that you enjoy your time with family and friends. Please remember to drive safe! If you plan on drinking designated a SOBER driver to take you home. 

All KDOT offices will be closed Dec. 24 and 25. We will be back on Dec. 26! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Kansas law enforcement urges motorists to drive sober over holidays

Police target impaired drivers during national enforcement campaign

TOPEKA, Kan. — Law enforcement agencies across the nation are joining forces over the holidays to remind drivers it’s deadly, dangerous and illegal to drive under the influence of illegal drugs, alcohol and some prescription drugs.

More than 150 Kansas law enforcement agencies will be extra vigilant to spot impaired drivers as part of the national enforcement campaign that runs Dec. 21-31.

“The period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road,” said Chris Bortz, Kansas Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Program Manager. “Too often while celebrating over the holidays impaired drivers get behind the wheel, and it’s never OK to drive impaired.”

In 2017, approximately 17 percent of crashes over the holiday week were alcohol-related. Drug-impaired driving has become a growing threat on roads across the nation. From 2007 to 2015, marijuana usage doubled among drivers killed in crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Kansas law enforcement want to remind drivers that if you drive drunk or high, you will get a DUI.

“Impaired driving causes injuries, physical and emotional, that can last a lifetime, and it’s a serious crime. Don’t take a risk with your future or somebody else’s – driving either drunk or high is a DUI,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King. “This holiday season designate a sober driver or use a ridesharing service to ensure everybody makes it home safely.”

Impaired drivers can face jail time, suspension of their driving privileges, fines and other costs of up to $10,000. Included in this cost, the offender will be required to install and pay monthly services fees on an ignition interlock. Beyond the financial and legal penalties, impaired drivers face the risk of losing their own lives or taking someone else’s.

If you plan on using any substance that inhibits your driving, plan ahead and designate a sober driver, Bortz said. Use public transportation, a taxi, ride share service or your community’s sober ride program to get home safely.

Tour the world, without leaving the state

By Tom Hein, Public Affairs Manager for Sedgwick County 

Here's some mid-week fun for you. We all know that Kansas is home to amazing communities with histories and heritages all their own.

One KDOT employee likes to tell people he just returned from Moscow. The usual reaction he gets is “Wow, that sounds like an interesting vacation!” He doesn’t always tell them that Moscow is a town of about 300 in Stevens County, Kansas.
There is a Moscow in Kansas and of course, Moscow, Russia

It turns out, one can travel to a lot of exotic places in Kansas. There are great vacation locales like Rome, Milan, Agra, Perth, Toronto, Havana, Bern and Zurich.

There is a town called Rome in Kansas, but it's not Rome, Italy

Did you know in Kansas, Norway and Cuba are neighbors in the north but Peru is almost to Oklahoma?

And we have LOTS of four-letter town names, a few of them names of someone you know. There’s Alma and Arma, Elmo, Fred, Gano and Gove, Hawk, Hope and Hoyt, Iola and Iuka, Kipp, Lane and Leon, Neal, Olpe, Otis and Otto, Peck, Rock and Rose, Troy, Voda, Zook and Zybo, just to name a few.

There are cities in Kansas that represent iconic state symbols as well:

We have Cottonwood Falls to recognize our state tree while Bison and Buffalo celebrate our state animal.

Where’s Waldo? Eureka! It’s just east of Paradise.
Kismet is a Gem of a name and Jewell makes us Smileyberg.
Who wouldn’t want to go to Buttermilk?

Isn’t all this Bazaar?

Painting of a historical battle during the battle of Waterloo during the Napoleonic Wars. 

But in your travels of Kansas towns, be careful you don’t find your Waterloo (a little berg in Kingman County). It’s where Wellington (in Sumner County) got the best of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Winter weather driving tips

By Ashley Tammen, 
KDOT Public Affairs Manager for north central Kansas

It’s snowing outside as you put on your shoes to go scrape off your car and head to work. You decide to warm up your car first and are not worried about driving in the snow because it’s just a car and you know how to drive one of those. But do you know how to drive  during inclement weather? Driving in these conditions can be quite challenging for travel due to slippery snow or ice. Poor traction may make your vehicle harder to control. It is important to review how to drive safely in the winter, especially if it’s the first snow of the year or you are new to driving. Here are some winter driving tips recommended by AAA Club Alliance:
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on a slippery surface).
  • Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to 10 seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • The best way to stop is threshold breaking.  To do this, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some speed going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Travel safe this winter and visit for up to date travel conditions.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Here's your sign: Interpretive Kansas Byway signs upgraded

The Land and Sky National Scenic Byway interpretive sign at K-27 near St. Francis.

Travelers on the 12 scenic or historic byways in Kansas will enjoy their trips even more this year thanks to new or upgraded interpretive signs at 39 locations across the state. Kansas Byways are a collection of routes that highlight the beauty, history and heritage of Kansas; help stimulate the economy through tourism; and promote a positive image of the state.

The Kansas Byways program is jointly managed by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the Kansas Historical Society (KHS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Nine of the routes are scenic byways (two of which are national scenic byways) and three are historic byways.

The latest $1.44 million project included construction of five new kiosks housing interpretive panels, the rehabilitation of 12 existing kiosks and their signs, 26 interpretive signage plazas and 12 Kansas Byway welcome boards which will guide travelers to the byways as they travel the state. In all, 142 panel surfaces were produced.

KDOT and KDWPT received a $220,000 National Scenic Byway grant from the FHWA in 2010 to develop the Kansas Byways Interpretive Plan. KDOT and KDWPT evenly split the required 20 percent match of $44,000. Fermata, Inc. of Austin, Tex., was awarded the contract for the plan, which served as the basis for the signage project.

In 2014, KDWPT received a two-phase Transportation Alternative Grant from the FHWA which was administered through KDOT for design and construction. RDG Planning and Design, Omaha, Neb., was responsible for the design phase ($235,560). GSR Construction, Inc., Lawrence, served as general contractor ($986,168) for the construction phase. KDWPT paid the required 20 percent match for each phase.

“The project is the result of a huge partnership, and we want to thank our partners in this effort,” said Scott Shields, KDOT Byways Manager. “They include the National Scenic Byway Program, the FHWA, local byway committees, KDOT and KDWPT staff, local Kansas Byway cities and counties and the KHS.”

The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway interpretive sign near Council Grove.

Members of the local byway committees appreciate the enhancements to their byways.

“The kiosk and new interpretive signage add so much to the history and understanding of the surrounding area for tourists to stop and read,” said Kaye Kuhn, Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway, south central Kansas.

Jayne Humphrey Pearce added, “The Western Vistas Historic Byway Steering Committee is delighted that these new features are now available to those exploring our byway.”

For information about exploring the Kansas Byways, visit

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Rail depot preservation project wraps up in Lawrence

Looking outside the window at the newly restored Lawrence Santa Fe Depot.

Following nearly nine years of planning and almost a year of construction, the historic Santa Fe Depot used by Amtrak and BNSF is set be completed this month.

The City of Lawrence, which owns the facility, will cut the ribbon in February, 2019 to rededicate the facility following the $1.8 million renovation project. It is funded through KDOT’s Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds, which is federal funding for non-traditional transportation projects.        

Crews at work outside the Santa Fe Depot in Lawrence.

“We’re excited to be at this point,” said Diane Stoddard, City of Lawrence Assistant City Manager.

The building dates to 1955 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 
The City of Lawrence, in cooperation with local preservation organizations, applied for the TAP funding, which reimburses 80 percent of the funds while the other 20 percent are provided by the project sponsor.

A view from the platform at the Santa Fe Depot in Lawrence. 

Federal TAP grants administered through KDOT fall into three general categories: bicycle/pedestrian, historic and scenic or environmental. The depot project received funds in the historic category because it supports rail transportation in Kansas.

The project preserved much of the interior, including artwork, furnishing, lighting and architectural features. It also provided the ability to build ADA-compliant access and restrooms, repair the roof and install geothermal HVAC and solar panels.
The rededication event is set for Feb. 22, 2019, at the depot.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Selecting detours for construction/maintenance projects

By Deb Gruver, District Five Public Affairs Manager
Flaggers and pilot cars handle most of the traffic during KDOT projects. But occasionally, a detour is necessary.
KDOT typically routes traffic to state highways when detours occur. That’s because those roads are usually the least expensive to sign and maintain.
Above shows a detour map for a project to replace the West Madison Avenue bridge over the
Arkansas River in Arkansas City.
“We know the condition of the highways and the standards they’re designed to,” said State Traffic Signing Engineer Eric Nichol.
Detour selection and design for construction projects on the state highway system is based on cost-effectiveness, maintenance considerations and impact to the traveling public.
Officially detouring traffic to local roads can be expensive, Nichol said. Local roads might not be able to withstand the additional traffic, especially truck traffic, and damage may occur. Several factors influence the selection of local road detours including, pavement condition, roadway safety features, roadway geometrics, length of detour and the number of vehicles involved.  
If a local road detour is selected, KDOT will enter an agreement with a county or city to allow traffic to detour on local roads. But most detours occur on state roads, Nichol said.
If detours are not feasible, KDOT also might build a “shoo-fly,” a temporary road adjacent to the construction site, or build the project half at a time to avoid a detour.
The state alerts the traveling public about detours and installs signage to guide drivers.

Monday, December 10, 2018

KDOT projects honored by KAPA

The 2018 Workmanship and Engineering Awards for the Kansas Asphalt Pavement Association (KAPA) took place on Dec. 6 in Lawrence. KDOT projects were honored in several categories.
State Transportation Engineer Catherine Patrick and Dan Scherschligt, KAPA Executive Director, presented the awards and are pictured with all the winners.

Overlay less than one-inch award -  

Second place was awarded to Cornejo & Sons of Wichita for U.S. 50 in Reno County. Philip Wait, Tanner Moravek and Jeremiah Booth accepted the award for Cornejo. Scott Koopman accepted the award for KDOT.

First Place goes to APAC Kansas Inc. Shears Division, Hays Branch in Hays, Kansas for K-96 in Wichita and Scott counties. Doug Werth accepted the award for APAC Hays Branch, and Craig Schlott accepted the award for KDOT.

Overlay one-inch or greater award - 

Tied for second place was Shilling Construction Company of Manhattan for K-63 in Pottawatomie County. Dustin Patterson accepted the award for Shilling, and Matt Mackeprang accepted the award for KDOT.


First place is awarded to Hall Brothers of Marysville for K-15 in Washington County. Greg Rietcheck accepted the award for KDOT, and Randy Laflen, Michael Teter and Andrew Grable accepted the award for Hall Brothers. 

Director’s Award - 

Second place is awarded to Venture Corporation of Great Bend for U.S. 24 in Sheridan County. Rob Percival accepted the award for KDOT and Matt Fitzsimmons accepted the award for Venture.

First place is awarded to APAC Kansas Inc. Shears Division, Hutchinson Branch of Hutchinson for U.S. 69 in Linn County. Preston Barkdoll accepted the Directors award for APAC and Troy Howard accepted the award for KDOT.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Kansas highways win national awards

 This award winning section of  U.S. 160 extends from the U.S. 160/U.S. 54 junction in Meade County to the U.S. 160/U.S. 283 junction in Clark county

Kansas highways continue to win national recognition. APAC Shears of Hutchinson has 
received three awards from the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) for projects in Kansas.

The APAC Hays Branch was awarded the Larry H. Lemon Quality in Construction Award for a mill and overlay project on U.S. 160 that extends from the U.S. 160/U.S. 54 junction in Meade County to the U.S. 160/U.S. 283 junction in Clark county. The award recognizes asphalt pavements that use less than 50,000 tons of asphalt in the project.

The $1.4 million project was 17 miles in length and completed in June.

“We are proud of the great work our contractors do for the state of Kansas,” said Catherine Patrick, State Transportation Engineer for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).

Award-winning section of U.S. 50 in Harvey County
The APAC Heavy Highway Branch of Hutchinson received two awards - one for U.S. 50 in Harvey County in the category of projects with 50,000 tons or less asphalt, and one for U.S. 69 in Linn County in the category of projects of 50,000 tons or more asphalt.

“A Kansas asphalt contractor achieving this award is testimony of the high-quality work performed by our producer members,” said Dan Scherschligt, Executive Director of the Kansas Asphalt Pavement Association.

An in-progress photo of U.S. 69 in Linn County, which won an award from the National Asphalt Pavement Association. 

According to APAC Shears, the pavement went through a variety of tests and were compared for volumetric quality and hitting targets for air voids, density and gradation and measurements of quality pavements.    

KDOT’s Director of Operations Larry Thompson said that KDOT and the state of Kansas benefit from contractors who are able to provide quality roads.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Don’t ruin the holidays by being a “pedtextrian"

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are upon us and visiting shopping centers, attending parties, discussing holiday gifts with loved ones and even online shopping are a huge part of the season. During this festive time of year, we need to remember one thing – stay alert while traveling.

Whether you text or drive, or text and walk at the same time, both activities are dangerous. The National Safety Council said that distracted walking incidents are on the rise and everyone with a cell phone is at risk of serious injury if they don’t pay attention while walking.

In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in the United States.  A contributing factor for this rise in fatalities is not paying attention to our surroundings. This is putting our safety, and the safety of others, at risk.

The solution is simple: Stop using phones while walking, even if you aren’t at a crosswalk or intersection. Distracted walking incidents can happen virtually anywhere, even in our own homes or familiar places.

An added hazard to texting while walking is sidewalks that are covered in ice.
Both the NSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have some great tips to help walk safer and smarter:
  • Don’t use your phone or smart device while walking.  If you aren’t paying attention, you may as well be walking blindfolded.
  • Pay attention to vehicles: look left, then right, and then left again. Vehicles can travel large distances in a short timeframe. Never assume that you can beat a moving automobile.
  • Be bright. Wear light colored clothing.
  • Don’t wear headphones while walking. Like texting and walking, when we wear headphones we are sacrificing a crucial sense: our hearing.  The ability to hear an approaching vehicle can be an important warning sign that traffic is coming toward you.
  • Never rely on a driver to stop, make sure they can see you. A great way to do this is to make eye contact with them. If you aren’t sure they have spotted you, don’t cross until it is safe.
  • If your vision is blocked by another car or object, move to a safer location before crossing.
  • Use crosswalks.
  • Walk in groups.
  • Never allow children younger than 10 to cross the street alone.

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year for many, and although our minds may be filled with presents, holiday treats, family and candy canes; if we use these tips the holidays could be jollier for everyone.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Shedding some light on driving in the dark

By Priscilla Petersen, Public Affairs Manager for Southeast Kansas

It happens every winter: mornings have less sunlight and darkness comes on much more quickly in the late afternoon. Going home from work or school on a weekday, drivers can view the low-hanging sun slipping below the horizon. The winter solstice will occur Dec. 21, ushering in the shortest day of the year — and the longest night.

Darkness can affect a driver’s depth perception, color perception and peripheral vision. On top of those problems, staring into oncoming headlights can even cause temporary blindness. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the risk of fatal crashes triples at night. The NSC recommends that drivers take the following steps to better cope with driving in the dark:

  • Properly align your vehicle’s headlights and check to make sure they are clean.
  • Dim your dashboard lights
  • Look away from oncoming lights
  • Make sure you are wearing anti-reflective glasses.
  • Check to make sure that your windshield is clean and free of streaks.
  • Slow down! Your visibility is limited to approximately 500 feet with high-beam headlights and 250 feet with normal beams.

Always run your headlights in the early morning and early evening, even if there is some light in the sky. Your vehicle is equipped with headlights not only to help you see the roadway, but to help other drivers see you.

Don’t trail others too closely; increase your distance whenever its dark out. Make sure your bright beams aren’t on when you are following traffic or encountering oncoming vehicles — turn them to low beams. If you are in an urban area watch out for pedestrians, especially around school zones, as darkness reduces their visibility. As always, put away your phones and avoid other distractions.

Finally, during this holiday season do not drink and drive. Please remain vigilant and keep an eye out for others who might be driving impaired. Use extra caution to help yourself and fellow drivers get home safely to snuggle in during the man remaining deep, dark winter evenings.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Car seat installation class could help save lives

By Lisa Knoll, Public Affairs Manager for southwest Kansas

Child passenger safety technician students use
their training to properly install car seats.  
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than 2,600 children under the age of 13 are involved in a car crash daily.  That’s one child every 33 seconds.  While most families put kids in car seats, the latest research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows 59 percent of car seats are not installed correctly.  As the District Six Public Affairs Manager for KDOT, I am all too familiar with the statistics.  In addition, I live in a county with a child safety belt usage rate of 81 percent, which is well below the state’s average of 90 percent. 

Remembering the confusion and frustration I felt installing and adjusting my daughter’s car seat, I enrolled in a three-day CPS technician certification class to make a difference in the lives of children and families in southwest Kansas.

My class included professionals from health care, EMS, police departments, KDOT and private individuals.  Our instructors were career law enforcement officers with more than 30 years of experience installing car seats and certifying technicians.  We all had one thing in common — a desire to make our communities safer for the children and families we serve.     
The first two-and-a-half days were intense — we discussed injury prevention, crash dynamics and seat belt systems. We also learned about car seats and studied car seat and vehicle manuals.  Our class completed several practice scenarios given a child’s age, height, weight and special needs.  We picked out the correct car seat and installed it in a vehicle multiple times. The class was also given five different car seat installations, we identified what was incorrect about each installation. 

Child passenger safety technician students use 
their training to properly install car seats.  
By lunch on the third day, we were ready for the final test. We hosted a car seat check lane at the Kansas Highway Patrol parking lot in Garden City.  Our instructors warned us that car seat installation was a bit of puzzle, and you never knew what to expect.  They were right.  Three cars, three seats and three children were part of the challenge, and each of them had unique scenarios.   

The first installation was basic and straight forward.  A mother-to-be arrived with an infant seat still in the box.  She was going to be induced that night, so the check lane came at the perfect time for her.  Two of my classmates showed her how to correctly install the seat and check the installation for future reference.

The second car’s occupants were an older gentleman and a preschool-age child who was in a forward-facing booster seat.  Three of our classmates greeted them and noticed right away that the seat was not correctly installed.  My classmates attached and tightened the top rear tether of the car seat, which reduces the risk of head injury in a crash.  They explained this to the caregiver so that he could correctly install the seat in the future.   
Inside the third car was a mom and an infant.  The rear-facing seat was already installed in the mother’s car, she just wanted us to check it.  My classmates noticed the level on the seat’s reading was off, which meant the seat was not positioned correctly.  They removed the seat and tried to install it again, but the seat belt didn’t lock in place like it was supposed to. 

Child passenger technician student reads
a car's manual to better understand how to
properly install a car seat for that vehicle. 
On closer inspection, they found that both seat belts in the back seat were faulty and would not lock the seat in place, which could put the infant in danger if there was a crash.  The only option was to install the seat using the vehicle’s LATCH system in the center back seat.  With the seat installed in the correct position according to the seat’s level, they realized the seat was in an almost upright position which was not safe for the infant.  When it was determined the level must not be working, the instructors were called over. After it was decided that the level was indeed faulty, another seat was provided and my classmates helped the mother correctly install.

It was a dizzying three days filled with information, demonstrations and practice.  In the end, thanks to our instructors, we have 10 newly certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians in southwest Kansas ready to assist parents.

If you are interested in learning more about child passenger safety or becoming a certified technician, visit

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Just another day at the office: KDOT crews save lives

KDOT Highway Maintenance Supervisor, Clyde Thrush helped save the day for one critically ill patient during the weekend snow storm. 

A major storm hit most of Kansas on Nov. 25, and the hard work of numerous KDOT employees across the state to clear the highways did not go unnoticed. Two examples of these efforts include employees from north central Kansas.

For Clyde Thrush, Highway Maintenance Supervisor in Minneapolis, snow removal and treating the roads for ice is just part of the job. But that day, it meant helping to get a critically ill patient the urgent medical care they needed. 

Jim Frye, KDOT Field Maintenance Manager, was contacted by Concordia Hospital and was told they had an emergency patient who needed to get to Salina Regional Hospital as quickly as possible. They asked for a snow plow to lead the way down U.S. 81. Frye contacted Thrush who happened to be at the junction of U.S. 81 and U.S. 24 at the time and was more than happy to assist. 

“We do what we can here at KDOT to help the public,” said Thrush.
According to a thank you note written by Brandon Bennett of Concordia Fire Department, he said the employee driving the snow plow (Clyde Thrush) went above and beyond the call of duty that day. 

“While en route, we got a call from dispatch that there was a snow plow truck trying to catch up to us to lay salt in our path,” Bennett said. “Mind you, Highway 81 this evening was a sheet of ice, and we were barely able to maintain 25 mph without our ambulance starting to slide. 

 “So eventually the snow plow caught up to us about 15 miles south of Concordia and we fell in behind him as he layed salt. This plow driver stayed in front of us all the way to Salina. Not only that, but he even got off the freeway and ensured our path was clear on the side streets up until we pulled into the hospital with our patient.”

Cody Deneault, Equipment Operator from Belleville, also helped people who were stuck in a snow drift. 

For Cody Deneault, Equipment Operator in Belleville, helping the public meant getting out to help a person whose vehicle was stuck in a snow drift. According to an email sent to KDOT, Deneault pulled over to assist the motorist dig underneath the car and then helped to push the car out of the snow drift. 

A special thanks to all the KDOT employees working around the clock to clear the highways during this blizzard.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

U.S. 24 in Graham County reopens after flood damage

Earlier this year a portion of U.S. 24 in Graham County was damaged by flooding.

Memorial Day flash floods caused damage to a box bridge structure and adjacent roadway, prompting the closure. Crews from the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Hill City and Stockton Subareas stabilized the area to reopen it to one-lane traffic. KDOT’s bridge inspection staff then began assessing the scope of the damage. The road was partially reopened in mid-June and plans were already underway by KDOT design staff for a complete bridge replacement project.

Crews work to repair the bridge.

Work on the bridge replacement began at the end of July. The contractor was able to immediately mobilize following the contract agreement and finished work two weeks earlier than the required completion date. Hays Area Construction Engineer Nick Rogers said safety and weather concerns played a role in expediting the project.

U.S. 24 Bridge in Graham County

“We had some safety concerns with the possibility of having one-lane traffic through the area, especially during the winter months,” Rogers said. “Also, the chance additional precipitation events could have caused further damage, so we wanted to get a plan in place and repairs underway as soon as possible.”

The U.S. 24  Bridge in Graham County is now open to traffic.
Even though the road was closed during the busy summer travel and harvest season, Rogers said the locals were understanding of the situation.

“The county and local residents were really supportive and understanding that this was an entirely unanticipated situation,” Rogers said. “We really appreciated their patience.”

King Construction Company was the primary contractor for the project with a total contract cost of approximately $559,000.