Wichita, KS – Although the summer season has just come to a close, the Kansas Turnpike Authority is already working to help Kansans with the coming winter season by hosting the 2015 Kansas Winter Expo. The expo will be held Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the KTA Topeka Maintenance facility.
“We are excited to host this event, which will help educate Turnpike maintenance employees as well as roadway crews from all levels of government across the state and region,” said Director of Roadway Operations, Eric Becker. “It’s never too early to be thinking about snow in Kansas.”
The Kansas Winter Expo aims to connect roadway maintenance crews with the latest equipment and operations best practices. Attendees will see displays and demonstrations, as well as meet with vendor representatives and fellow maintenance professionals. This is the first time KTA has hosted such an event.
Download PDF to read entire release.September 8, 2015 Media Release
Wichita, KS – KTA has evaluated additional efforts to reduce flooding concerns south of Emporia. The items evaluated were additional water monitoring systems, permanent flood warning signs and guardrail. These items are in addition to the installation of 16 additional digital message signs, changes to weather warning notices and planned culvert improvements.
During internal discussions and review, KTA also made a notable change to its drainage structure designs. Current national guidelines call for drainage structures on Interstate highways to accommodate water from a 50-year storm. However, KTA will be shifting its focus from the design of the structure to the result of that design on the roadway – which ultimately is what’s important to travelers. The new focus is to keep water off the roadway during a 100-year storm, regardless of how the structure is designed. Five of the six drainage structures to be installed in 2016 meet this goal. The remaining structure, located at MM 116, will be redesigned prior to installation.
Other determinations made by KTA are listed below and can also be found at: http://bit.ly/1EvBo9D
GUARDRAIL NEAR MM 116-118: KTA and consulting engineers reviewed the possibility of guardrail installation to protect motorists from water on or near the roadway due to flooding. Because guardrail itself can be a roadway hazard, it should only be installed when the object it is designed to protect can’t be removed, i.e. bridge pillars, permanent body of water, tree or steep slope. Therefore, guardrail will not be installed to protect against potential flooding that is already being addressed with these drainage structure improvements.
ADDITIONAL MONITORING SYSTEMS: Two water alert systems are already in place at MM 116 and 199 to notify key KTA personnel when water begins to rise at those locations. An additional stream monitor will be installed at MM 118. This monitor will be operational mid-September.
PERMANENT FLOOD WARNING SIGNS: KTA has selected the type of permanent caution signage to alert travelers to the potential for flash flooding. These will include a total of six signs, four of which will have flashing lights that are activated when the stream monitors at MM 116 and MM 118 indicate the culvert is half full. These signs will be installed by mid-September.
Download PDF to read entire release.September 1, 2015 Media Release
Wichita, KS – Work begins August 24 on a multi-layer polymer concrete overlay on the eastbound lanes of the Kansas River Bridge (mile marker 202.85 on I-70/Turnpike) near Lawrence. Applying a polymer overlay helps extend the life of the bridge and creates safer winter driving conditions.
The project begins with crews working on the right outside lane followed by work on the far left lane. The overlay on the middle lane will occur at night and will require the closure of the far left and middle lanes. Traffic will be impacted with lane closures throughout the project. Work is expected to be completed mid-September, weather permitting.
“This is one of the most heaviest traveled areas of the Turnpike. We encourage travelers to be aware of the lane closures associated with this project and to drive with caution in work zones,” said David Jacobson, KTA’s Director of Engineering. “Drivers are urged to check for construction updates at http://www.kandrive.org, follow the Kansas Turnpike on Twitter, and watch for information on the KTA’s digital message boards.
Wildcat Construction of Wichita, KS is the general contractor for the project.
Download PDF to read entire release.August 20, 2015 Media Release
Wichita, KS – Kent Olson has been hired as the new Director of Finance for the Kansas Turnpike Authority. Kent will start with KTA on August 21 and will be working out of the KTA’s headquarters in Wichita.
“I’m excited to welcome Kent’s experience and expertise to the Turnpike,” said KTA CEO Steve Hewitt. “He brings a solid background in finance and transportation, which will help the KTA grow and do more.”
In addition to leading the financial operations of the Turnpike, Kent will also oversee the human resources department.
For the past three years, Kent has been serving as the Chief Financial Officer and Inspector General for KDOT. Prior to this, he served as the State of Kansas Comptroller, Department of Administration Inspector General and the Social and Rehabilitation Services Chief Financial Officer.
Kent graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in finance and has earned the Certified Public Manager designation. He is a native of the Eureka, Kan. area.
Download PDF to read entire release.August 20, 2015 Media Release
Wichita, KS – Seven employees of the Kansas Turnpike Authority recently retired after a combined 146 years of service to the organization.
• Jim Starkey (Topeka, KS), Topeka Toll Collector, retired after his 13-year career with the KTA in May.
• Ed Bogner (Winfield, KS), Senior Programmer Analyst, served with the KTA for 19 years in IT before retiring in June.
• Tim Schmidt (Whitewater, KS), Computer Systems Analyst, retired in June after 26 years with the KTA’s IT department.
• Mike Hinnenkamp (Benton, KS), Andover Toll Collector, ended a 15-year career with the KTA in June.
• Dot McDonald (Emporia, KS), Emporia Toll Supervisor, completed 23 years starting as a toll collector and eventually becoming the Emporia Toll Supervisor.
• Markita Schneider (Topeka, KS), Topeka Toll Collector, completed 26 years with the KTA.
Download PDF to read entire release.August 6, 2015 Media Release
There are historical markers at some of the Service Areas that show areas of interest. The Turnpike crosses the historic Santa Fe Trail near milepost 155 and the Oregon Trail near milepost 189.