Thursday, June 27, 2019

I-70 reconstruction project continuing in Gove County

By Lisa Mussman, 
Northwest Kansas Public Affairs Manager  
A multi-year reconstruction project on a portion of I-70 in Gove County in northwest Kansas has kicked into high gear for the summer.

The eastbound lanes have been milled down in preparation for the new pavement this will be installed this summer and fall.

roject work includes pavement replacement on both the eastbound and westbound lanes on a nine-mile stretch starting one mile west of the K-23 spur near Grainfield and ending four miles east of K-211. Work began last fall with the installation of temporary crossovers in preparation for the new pavement, with the eastbound lanes scheduled to be completed in 2019 and westbound lanes in 2020.

Construction crews work on the new span bridge that will carry eastbound I-70 over Gove County Road 62. 

Additional project work also includes pavement replacement at the eastbound and westbound rest areas near Grainfield, construction of new right of way fencing, lighting installation at exits 95 and 99, and reconstruction of the box structure carrying Gove County Road 62 under I-70 into two new span bridges.

Part of the project includes polymer overlays on the bridges at exits 95 and 99. Crews first prepare the surface for treatment by shotblasting, followed by an application of epoxy and covered by chat. The surface is then cleaned and a second layer of epoxy and chat are applied. The overlay will help seal any cracks and not allow water and salt to penetrate into the surface, helping to extend the life of the bridge.

Traffic through the construction area has been to one lane in each direction in the westbound lanes. Drivers are urged to slow down and use caution when traveling through work zones!

Updates on the project and current travel impacts can be found at For information on additional construction projects around the state, visit

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What to expect when you’re expecting road construction

A common question on KDOT’s social media pages is “When are you going to fix that road?” There are steps that take place before a highway construction project begins.  

One of the first steps is the appearance of neon orange or white numbers spray painted on the shoulder or on the road if there is no shoulder. 

One of the first signs of a project are painted numbers on the side of the road. 

In addition, stakes will also be placed on the roadside in the grass or brush.  The numbers and the stakes are references used to measure quantities of materials that are used during the project. This also allows the contractor and KDOT to track the amount of material used per 100 feet of roadway.

Stakes are also added as reference points in the grass or brush. 

KDOT’s local maintenance crews also play a large part in preparing for a project.  They are responsible for mowing and weed eating the work zone prior to a project.  This increases visibility for motorists and crews and helps reduce the fire hazard during a project. KDOT’s local crews will also repair shoulders and patch potholes if the number of traffic lanes is being reduced to one lane during a project. Local crews will also install passing and no-passing signs in the construction area as highway markings may be removed during construction.

Crews construct no-passing signs because highway markings may be removed during construction.
At some point, a site will be cleared and leveled, and piles of aggregate will be moved near the work zone.  Aggregate may include sand, rock or other material as needed.  Approximately one to two weeks before the project begins, a mobile plant which produces concrete or asphalt, will be moved into the site and set up. 

For some projects, the contractor will create a temporary plant site to haul and store aggregate and set up equipment to produce asphalt for the project using a mobile plant. 
Finally, work zone signs and traffic control devices will be placed along the side of the road in the days before the project begins.  This gives motorists time to prepare for changes in traffic flow before the project begins and is a sure sign that construction is just around the corner.

Always know before you go by visiting for the most up to date highway construction projects and detours. Remember to ditch the distractions, slow down and obey work zone warning signs.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Completion of U.S. 69 expansion project celebrated by state and local officials

Work on the current expansion of the U.S. 69 highway was completed. An additional two lanes will make it easier
for travelers from southeast Kansas to Kansas City. 
The drive to Kansas City from southeast Kansas just got a little safer for students, truck drivers and travelers. 

U.S. 69 is now a four-lane upgradable expressway from Fort Scott all the way south to the Bourbon-Crawford County line. Officials and citizens gathered to celebrate the completion of the latest highway expansion project yesterday at the Cherry Grove Baptist Church along U.S. 69.

Governor Laura Kelly, Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz, and many U.S. 69 advocates gathered in the church yard for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the finished project. 

"Our roads allow us to carry our most precious cargo, our kids," Governor Kelly said. "Today's expansion will make this stretch of highway safer and more accessible."

Gov. Kelly said that Kansans have a unique relationship with roads because they are the backbone of our economy and serve as silent partners in our daily lives. 

Governor Laura Kelly addresses a crowd at the U.S. 69 expansion celebration. 

"Whether it's hauling goods or groceries, by keeping our promise to expand U.S. 69, we ensure future generations are connected in ways that we may not even understand yet. It's why we call it an investment."

Gov. Kelly added that the promise to complete the four-lane highway all the way to Pittsburg will be kept. Estimated completion for two projects that will complete those 11 miles is expected in  Fall 2022. 

Prior to the ribbon-cutting, Secretary Lorenz thanked Gov. Kelly for her leadership and support of a high-quality modal transportation network. She said that U.S. 69 has long been a regional priority.

Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz addresses a crowd in attendance at the U.S. 69 ribbon cutting celebration.
“Investments in roads help people and goods get to where they need to go today, and where they want to go tomorrow,” Lorenz said. "The outcomes are expected to be even brighter in this part of the state." 

Lorenz cited the findings of a 2010 study that showed the expansion of U.S. 69 to four lanes would create more than 4,000 new jobs and $138 million in new wages.

“Communities along the U.S. 69 corridor already have the land, utilities and well-trained 
workforces primed to benefit from the new industries that come with this four-lane highway access,” she said.

"You can hear and see we expect increased truck traffic as industry is added and more jobs are created," Lorenz said. "Four lanes of highway will increase safety and reduce congestion." 

Secretary Julie Lorenz, Governor Kelly and other U.S. 69 officials and supporters cut the ribbon, marking the completion of the current highway expansion.  
Population projections indicate more than 20 percent future growth in communities along the U.S. 69 corridor, Lorenz said. And continued expansion efforts will enable the highway to support greater growth in southeast Kansas and beyond.

KDOT began construction in 2017 on the six-mile Bourbon County project. Two lanes were added to the previously existing U.S. 69 alignment. At-grade intersections were constructed at Arrowhead, Birch, Cavalry, Deer and Fern Roads. Koss Construction of Topeka was the primary contractor on the $21.8 million project.

The speed limit will be raised to 65 mph by the Fourth of July holiday. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Motoring Monday - Galena Mining & Historical Museum

Numerous artifacts can be seen at the Galena Mining & Historical Museum.
A focal point in the former Tri-State Mining District and now a popular stop with tourists traveling Historic Kansas 66, the town of Galena took its name from the ‘Galena’ lead sulfide ore. Rich deposits of lead and zinc discovered at Galena in the 1870s fueled the city’s expansion to around to 30,000 residents at the turn of the 20th century.

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad brought people and goods to Galena and transported mined rock to regional smelters. Galena had its own lead smelter, at the time considered one of the largest in the world, along Route 66.

Old cars, mining equipment and more are on display.
The Galena Mining & Historical Museum, opened in 1984, brims over with information and artifacts from the town’s mining and railroad eras. The museum itself is quartered in the relocated MKT depot. Numerous exhibits include photographs of the miners, along with equipment they used and the minerals they mined.

Visitors can also view women’s fashions of long ago, vintage vehicles including a hearse, and even the first color television camera used at area station KOAM-TV. A short movie about Galena, produced around 1919, takes one back to the days of the early automobiles and trolleys.
The museum, seen below, is located at 319 W. 7th. It is open weekdays during the summer months and on weekends by appointment. Call (620) 783-2192 to confirm hours.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mowing 101: How KDOT maintains Kansas roadways

KDOT maintains more than 150,000 acres of highway right of way across the state through mowing, weeding and land maintenance. 

Did you know that KDOT maintains more than 150,000 acres of highway right of way?
 As a result that means there is a lot of grass to mow, land to maintain and weeds to control.  Each year KDOT spends approximately $6.7 million on mowing efforts. There are a few situations that KDOT takes into consideration before mowing will take place:

Crews will mow at specific times during the year, but it will also be done as necessary for safety reasons. KDOT’s largest priority are visibility areas in and around intersections, signs and inside of curves.

As seen in recent weeks, mowing after periods of heavy, prolonged rain can make it difficult on equipment and can cause ruts in the land adjacent to highways. Mowing in these conditions can also damage equipment, which can take even longer to repair and get the area mowed. KDOT crews will mow areas when it is safe to do so.

KDOT's priorities are visibility areas in and around intersections, signs and inside of curves.

As summer continues, maintenance crews work hard to keep Kansas moving, please give them room to work.

In order to save time and give our crews more opportunities to fix roads and maintain areas that have a larger impact on traffic, KDOT may mow less frequently in underdeveloped areas. Mowing on steep slopes can be dangerous, and KDOT also limits the amount of times those areas are mowed as well.

There are many benefits for KDOT’s mowing policy and the amount of time and funds saved gives crews more time and resources to maintain highways and bridges. Farmers and adjacent landowners can harvest hay from the roadsides at no cost.  
In addition to all these situations,

As summer continues, KDOT maintenance crews are working hard to keep Kansas moving. Please give them room to do their job, whether its filling potholes, picking up litter or mowing the right of way.

You can find more information about KDOT’s mowing policies and permit information on our webpage:

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Protecting the pollinators: KDOT adds more habitat

Here’s the buzz! Did you know that pollinators are vital to Kansas’ economy? About three-quarters of the world's flowering plants and many of the food crops eaten in North America depend on pollinators. In the U.S., pollination produces nearly $24 billion worth of products annually.  

The Monarch butterfly caterpillar can only eat the leaves of milkweed. Monarch Butterflies only lay their eggs
on milkweed plants. Losing these important plants could be devastating to these important pollinators.
Unfortunately, bee and Monarch butterfly populations are on the decline. The lack of pollination would mean no apples, blueberries, almonds, melons, pumpkins, chocolate, coffee and more. 

A Monarch butterfly on a Butterfly Milkweed plant. 

In order to help change that, KDOT crews will be busy for the fourth year in a row as they continue to plant  native wildflowers and grasses along our roadways.

One of the many varieties of flowers and plants you'll see along our roadways are the Black-Eyed Susan flowers.

This is all thanks to a partnership with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Last September, KDOT was awarded $65,000 for the restoration and enhancement of rights-of-way for Monarchs. The grant will provide approximately 125 acres of pollinator habitat to be completed within in the next two summers. 

This year the project locations include:

·         I-35 & U.S. 59 Interchange – 52 acres
·         Linn County Rest Area, U.S. 69 & K-52 Interchange – 26 acres
·         I-35/Homestead Lane Interchange, Johnson County – 22 acres
·         Montgomery County Rest Area, U.S. 400 & U.S.169 Interchange – three acres

Common Milkweed in bloom.

This year around 100 acres will be planted, and next year, an additional 22 acres will be added in Franklin County.  This grant was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The next time you take a drive, be on the lookout for these incredibly important pollinator habitats with the help of brand new KDOT Pollinator Habitat signs, which will be installed this year along some of the areas mentioned above.

Be on the lookout for these signs as you travel across the state. They'll be added this year!

For more information on how KDOT is helping pollinators, click here:

Monday, June 17, 2019

Motoring Monday - Dog Parks in Kansas

Sunset at The Friends of Hays Dog Park. Credit: Friends of Hays Dog Park.
Three dogs enjoy a run through one of the
 many open fields at the Mutt Run in Lawrence.
Are you scratching your head about where you can take your dog to experience a fun day of play? There are more than 20 dog park locations that offer plenty of open spaces for your pup to release some energy and have a ball. We are highlighting a few of them in today’s Motoring Monday.

Starting in northwest Kansas and located off of Old U.S. 40 in Hays - the Friends of the Hays Dog Park offers two separate fenced-in areas depending on the size of your furry friend. There are shelter houses and doggy drinking fountains to help keep your entire pack cool. 

Kim Perez says that one of the reasons she loves the dog park in Hays is that she gets to meet people from all over the U.S. who have planned their trips strategically so they can exercise their furry family member at dog parks. She said she has met people from Missouri, Georgia and even California.

The next location is the K-9 Rooster Dog Park in Wichita. This park features three off-leash enclosures for each size of dog joining you on your journey. This park was named for a fallen Canine Officer named Rooster, who lost his life in the line of duty.

Shawnee Mission Dog Park.
Farther north in Salina is Barkley Park. According to the city of Salina, their facility opened in August 2016. The two-acre dog park features two open fenced-in areas. Barkley Park is located within the E. Crawford Recreation area and is open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Located in Lawrence is the Mutt Run. This 30-acre off-leash dog park is one of Kansas’ more unique canine destinations. Miles of trails and walking paths weave their way throughout the park so your dog can run free through trees, open brush and even climb haystacks. There is an additional smaller park located nearby for dogs that require fenced-in areas. The Mutt Run is located within the Clinton Lake Reservoir. 

The final stop is the Shawnee Mission Dog Park, a 44-acre off leash dog area that a great get-away for you and your canine buddy. This location is complete with wood chip and trails through the trees, walkways and even a beach where your pooch can enjoy some waves. This great doggy vacation spot can be found east of the observation tower on John Barkley Drive in Shawnee.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

For pets' sake: How you can rescue a pet in need

Summer temperatures are beginning to heat up. What can you do if you see a pet trapped in a car and in distress? Here are some signs to look for and some tips to help you be prepared:

Most animals left in cars are dogs of all shapes and sizes and the heat can affect them quickly . KDOT encourages you to check with your local law enforcement to understand what you can do when you see a pet trapped in a car on a hot day. 

According to the Humane Society’s website there are a few steps you should remember to take before you start smashing windows. 
  • You should start by taking down the car’s information and description. What is the make and model of the car? What color is it? What is the license plate number?
  • If you are in a parking lot attempt to get a hold of the manager or employee from the store or business. Have them try to find the owner.
  •  If that fails, call the NON-emergency phone number for your local law enforcement and explain the situation. Then wait for them to give you further instructions or for them arrive.
  • Fortunately, last year Kansas adopted a Good Samaritan law that may protect you should you try to rescue the animal by breaking a window or opening the door. You should know the law and the steps to take before you take action. Always contact law enforcement first. 

If the pet is showing any signs of heat distress get it to a cool area and apply cool, not cold, water if possible. Then call a local veterinarian for further assistance.

Remember, if you see something, say something. It is never okay to leave a pet inside a hot car. Cracked windows will not keep them cool. If its too hot for you, its way too hot for them. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Flood patrol: How KDOT crews assist with roads affected by high waters

During heavy rainfall events, with even the slightest chance of flooding, KDOT crews are on the lookout to help keep everyone safe by monitoring the roads in Kansas.

Crews keep a close eye on flood-prone roads and areas of concern and they watch for high water that may come onto the roadway.

“Due to the wet winter and wet spring, this year we put many workers on standby during several storms to monitor the flooding situation at numerous locations,” said James Roudybush, Maintenance Engineer in north central Kansas.

When water is only partially over the roadway and it is safe to drive on another part of the road, KDOT crews flag vehicles around the high water so traffic can continue to flow.  If the water becomes too high for traffic to safely go around or the high water around the road has caused unsafe conditions, the roadway will be closed until it is safe to reopen.

“We set up traffic control and try to ensure traffic doesn’t go past the barricades to keep everyone safe,” said Billy Wilson, Highway Maintenance Supervisor in Strong City.
If you come across an area with water over the roadway that is not being controlled, you should call 9-1-1.  Crews will then determine if the road should be closed until water goes down or if part of the road is safe to drive on.

In order to safely reopen the highway, all debris must be removed that may have floated onto it and the roadway surface and any bridges must be inspected for damage.

“After recent flooding we have had to cut up trees with a chainsaw and remove them from bridges or roadways to prevent damage,” Wilson said.

If there is damage to the roadway or bridge, it may have to be repaired before it can be reopened.

Crews work hard to reopen roads after flooding has occurred. Please remember to give the crews room to work and never drive around a barricade.  Remember: if you come across high water, turn around, don’t drown! More rain is in the forecast this weekend. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Bridge patching in KC Metro area one of many approved bids

Northbound I-635 
A patching project from the Hump Yard Bridge to just north of the State Avenue is one of 22 projects selected in the Kansas Department of Transportation’s May 22 monthly bid letting.

Close up of the current surface on northbound
I-635 and eastbound I-70 ramps.
The $4,423,433 concrete patching project will begin this construction season with R A Knapp as the primary contractor. I-635 will be reduced to two lanes throughout the bridge work and the ramps to and from northbound I-635 and K-32 will be closed to the northbound ramp during the project as well.

Lane restrictions will go through November and then there will be a winter shutdown and work will resume and completed next March.

There are three other projects that tie in with this one on I-70 and I-635.

For more projects included in May’s letting click here:

Monday, June 10, 2019

Motoring Monday - Eisenhower Park & Rose Garden

Abilene is well known for its historical roots as it is the former home of five-star General and 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The large white home that Eisenhower grew up in is administered by the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA). This historical home is now part of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home and named one of the top Kansas attractions by USA Today.
But did you know Abilene also has another hidden gem dedicated to him?
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Works Progress Administration was the basis for beginning the construction of a rose garden located at northwest Fourth and Pine Street in Abilene. In June 1944, the 40-acre park was dedicated to Dwight D. Eisenhower and has since been known as the Eisenhower Park & Rose Garden. It was from the park stadium on June 6, 1952, that General Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his candidacy for President.
The park contains several facilities for park visitors including walking trails, shelter houses, restrooms, the Abilene skate park, Abilene Municipal swimming pool, Bill Gravette Sports Complex, lighted volleyball courts, tennis courts, basketball courts and the Ted Power baseball diamond.
The best time to see and visit this park is around July 1, when the flowers are in full bloom. You can relax here as you take in the breath-taking views and beautiful aroma of fresh roses. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

KDOT crews provide support after tornado damage

During clean-up efforts in the Linwood area, a huge tree is loaded in the KDOT truck.

KDOT crews cleaned up and hauled away debris and limbs.

By Kim Stich
Informational Specialist
A May 28 tornado did significant damage in Douglas and Leavenworth counties, and KDOT crews are assisting with emergency and clean-up responses.

The National Weather Service reported the tornado on the ground in Douglas County at 6 p.m. and in Leavenworth County at K-32 about 6:25 p.m.

Crews were on the scene in Lawrence soon after as high winds overturned a semi-truck on U.S. 59 south of Lawrence, closing the highway for a short time.

KDOT crews block the main road off U.S. 59 to the area that was
damaged south of Lawrence.

Lawrence Highway Maintenance Supervisor Mark Mestagh said crew members worked with law enforcement and emergency responders the rest of the night and for several days afterwards in blocking roads to keep turn lanes and ramps closed to the public so that utility companies and other clean-up crews could work. They are continuing efforts there for the next week or so.

Mestagh said the tornado passed about a quarter-mile from the Subarea shop. High winds lifted a crash attenuator over the shop and it ended up 700 feet away on the other side of the lot. One corner of the roof was peeled up. In addition, five message boards were destroyed and brine tanks were knocked over, he said.

The tornado came within a quarter-mile of the complex.
Five message boards were blown over and destroyed at the
Lawrence Subarea Office. In addition, an attenuator was carried
over the building and landed about 700 feet away. 

Bonner Springs Superintendent Peter Wiehe was in Linwood by 6:50 p.m. with crew members on their way with equipment loaders, backhoes and other vehicles.

"We were on it as quick as we could get there, probably a little too quick as the weather was still very bad out," he said.

Wiehe said there was a lot of hand work the first night cutting trees off the road with chain saws. Two crew members had to hold lights as they worked into the evening.

Efforts will continue in the Linwood area and on K-32 for the next couple weeks. Wiehe said he talked with Linwood Mayor Brian Christenson and his wife during clean-up efforts, "and they said we are doing a great job and thanked us for the work we have done."

Tree limbs are cleared away in Leavenworth County.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

MAGIC Camp reveals opportunities for young women

There’s MAGIC in the air this week in Topeka, as the Mentoring a Girl in Construction returns to the capital city.

Participants in this year's MAGIC Camp.
Doria Watson, Civil Rights Administrator for KDOT said that at least 20 girls are participating in the free and educational event this week.

MAGIC Camp students work on a
construction project.
“The ultimate goal for MAGIC Camp is to expose young girls to transportation and construction related careers and opportunities,” Watson said. “It also helps them look outside of traditional careers, or careers they have been exposed to — as well as to introduce them to successful females working in the transportation field.”

Campers will have opportunities to do quite a few hands-on projects. “At the start of the week they attended a session on safety and tools and constructed a key holder,” Watson said. “They will work on a Habitat for Humanity project, experience some cement mixing and masonry work and if the weather cooperates, the girls will get to participate in an “equipment rodeo” where they actually experience operating construction equipment.”

Watson said that each day the girls will experience a different mode of transportation and the careers associated with it — from entry level positions all the way up to executive management.

“The experiences will be beneficial no matter what career is chosen,” Watson said. “The goal is not only for them to consider the transportation opportunities but to understand the importance of transportation in their lives, the importance of safety in transportation and to increase appreciation for workers who give daily in this service industry.”

While attending MAGIC Camp the girls get a chance to visit transportation related businesses.
The camp runs until this Friday.