News Releases

KTA announces recent retirements

Wichita, KS – Six employees of the Kansas Turnpike Authority retired in September after a combined 132 years of service to the organization.

• Alan Bakaitis (Auburn, KS), former Director of Toll Operations, Chief Operations Officer and Executive Advisor retired after his 17-year career with the KTA.
• Debra Edgin (Lawrence, KS), Lawrence & Lecompton Toll Collector, served with the KTA for 23 years before retiring.
• Jeff Cross (Scranton, KS), Topeka Maintenance crew member, retired after 25 years.
• Dean Byers (Wellington, KS), Wellington Maintenance crew member, ended a 35-year career with the KTA.
• John Thrasher (Wichita, KS), Wichita Toll Collector, completed 15 years as a toll collector.
• Joyce Miller (Emporia, KS), Emporia Toll Collector, retired with 17 years of service.

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October 8, 2015 Media Release

Kansas kids win poster/video contests, focus on improving traffic safety

Winners of two Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day statewide contests have been announced as part of the national safety campaign Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day.

For the poster contest - Kendall Rogers of Cunningham, Kayleigh Flores of Moscow and Reagan de Koning of Axtell are the statewide winners. Each student was first selected as a regional winner and will receive a bicycle and a helmet donated by Safe Kids Kansas at presentations at their schools.

Rogers, Flores and de Koning were then chosen as the statewide winner in their age category. They will also receive a family package from the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark in Kansas City, Kan., and a $50 gift card from the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas. A total of 1,118 Kansas kids ages 5 to 13 participated.

For the video contest, Siera Hartwell, Lauren Gabriel, Justin Toumberlin and Nate Herries from the Video Production class at Eudora High School won first place. The class will receive their choice of an iPad mini, GoPro video camera or Apple Watch along with a $500 donation to the school.

Students from Wichita East High School’s Film Studies class captured second place and Jalen Gifford, representing Dodge City High School, placed third in the video contest. Each will receive one of the remaining prizes listed above. A total of 170 entries from teens in 21 Kansas schools participated.

Organizations that work together on this safety campaign include the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Turnpike Authority, Kansas Highway Patrol, AAA of Kansas, Kansas Contractors Association, Kansas Family Partnership, Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office, Federal Highway Administration and the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers.

Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day is a nationwide effort to increase roadway safety and reduce all traffic fatalities. For more information and a list of all the winners across Kansas, go to and click on the Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day information.

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October 2, 2015 Media Release

State Farm® Safety Assist program helps over 2,000 travelers

Wichita, KS – The State Farm Safety Assist program, operated by the Kansas Turnpike, assisted over 2,000 Turnpike travelers this summer season, and almost 10,000 since the sponsorship began five years ago.

The summer program, which runs from Wichita to the Oklahoma border, has come to an end for the 2015 season. However, the program runs yearlong in the heavily traveled stretch of the Turnpike, from Topeka to Kansas City. The State Farm Safety Assist technicians travel the Turnpike aiding drivers with roadway incidents, looking for debris on the road and assisting with traffic accidents.

“I cannot express to you how grateful I was for this service,” said Turnpike traveler, Diane L., who experienced a flat tire in August. “Within 20 minutes, a gentleman with [KTA’s
State Farm Safety Assist] showed up and had my tire changed in under 10 minutes. Free of charge!”

For more information about the State Farm Safety Assist program, visit

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September 22, 2015 Media Release

Summer travel season sets records on Kansas Turnpike

Wichita, KS – Summer travel was up more than six percent on the Kansas Turnpike in 2015, making it the most traveled summer season in Turnpike history.

Every month this summer saw more traffic on the Turnpike than in 2014. July was the most traveled of the summer months with more than 3.5 million vehicles using the Turnpike. That’s an eight percent increase over July 2014 and the most vehicles to drive the road in a single month in the Turnpike’s near-60 year history.

“We know our customers use the roadway because they have important places to go,” said KTA’s CEO, Steve Hewitt. “This increase tells us great things are happening in Kansas. Thanks in part to the lower fuel prices, people are traveling more.”

Labor Day weekend ended the 2015 summer travel season with an 8.5 percent increase over the same four-day, Friday to Monday, holiday weekend in 2014.

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September 10, 2015 Media Release

KTA to host 2015 Kansas Winter Expo

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.

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September 8, 2015 Media Release

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KTA Fact

1956 - 1957
Reasonable and Prudent

1957 - 1970
80 mph Maximum
40 mph Minimum

1970 - 1974
75 mph Maximum - Day
70 mph Maximum - Night
40 mph Minimum

1974 - 1987
55 mph Maximum

May 1987
65 mph on rural interstates
55 mph through town of 50,000 or more and from Emporia to Topeka

October 1987
Emporia to Topeka re-classified as I-335 and now 65 mph

65 mph around Wichita & Topeka

70 mph from Oklahoma line to I-70/435. 65 mph from I-70 to 18th St.

Entire Turnpike changed to 70 mph

Turnpike from K-7 near Bonner Springs south to Oklahoma border changed to 75 mph