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.