News Releases

Kansas Turnpike Authority hires new Director of Finance

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.

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August 20, 2015 Media Release

KTA announces recent retirements

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.

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August 6, 2015 Media Release

K-TAG partners with Safelite® AutoGlass

Wichita, KS – The Kansas Turnpike Authority has a new customer-focused partnership with Safelite AutoGlass in Wichita. When installing a new windshield, Safelite AutoGlass will replace a customer’s old K-TAG sticker with a new one. New tag information will be sent to the KTA for account updating.

“Since K-TAG stickers no longer work once removed from a windshield, we’re pleased to offer this service through Safelite AutoGlass,” said Rachel Bell, KTA’s marketing and communications director. “It means one less thing our K-TAG customers have to worry about when getting their windshield replaced.”

Customers can also get free replacement sticker tags by calling 1-800-USE-KTAG or stopping by the K-TAG Retail Center adjacent to the East Kellogg toll plaza in Wichita.

Safelite AutoGlass is located in Wichita at 8805 E. 34th St. N. Suite 103.

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August 4, 2015 Media Release

Paving project on I-35/Turnpike to begin August 7

Wichita, KS – An overlay paving project between the Belle Plaine Service Area and the East Kellogg/Wichita toll plaza on I-35/Turnpike (mile markers 26.8 to 50.8) will begin Friday, August 7 and finish late-September, weather permitting.

The project involves milling and applying an ultra thin bonded asphalt overlay to both directions of the roadway and five interchanges: Mulvane (mile marker 33); Haysville/Derby (mile marker 39); South Wichita (mile marker 42); K-15 (mile marker 45); and East Kellogg (mile marker 50.)

While timing of work will be updated throughout the project, the current schedule is to complete the project in three segments.
• The contractor will begin applying an overlay between the South Wichita and East Kellogg interchanges (mile markers 42 to 50.8.)
• Crews will then begin milling and overlaying the roadway between the Belle Plaine Service Area and South Wichita interchange (mile markers 26.8 to 42.)
• The five interchanges will be milled and resurfaced at the end of the project, with each interchange taking about a day to complete.

Work will be done during daylight hours with the exception of the South Wichita interchange (mile marker 42) which will occur at night.

Drivers are urged to check for construction updates at http://www.kandrive.org, subscribe to KTA Alerts for roadway incident information at http://bit.ly/KHeX6g, follow the Kansas Turnpike Authority on Twitter, and watch for information on the KTA’s digital message boards.

APAC-Kansas, Shears Division is the general contractor for the project.

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July 30, 2015 Media Release

KHP & KTA release facts of July 10 accident

Wichita, KS – The Kansas Highway Patrol Troop G has completed the investigation of the fatality accident on Friday, July 10, at approximately 5 p.m. at mile marker 118 on I-35/Turnpike. Some key differences between preliminary information released to the public and this final report include a clearer timeline and additional information about the extent of flooding in the vicinity.

The final KHP investigation has revealed the following facts:
1. Heavy rains produced localized flash flooding. According to witness statements, between 6-10 inches of water covered the northbound lanes of the roadway.
2. The witness directly behind the blue Mustang indicated speeds of approximate 70 mph at the time of the accident.
3. The witness directly behind the Mustang indicated a semi was traveling in the left lane slightly ahead of the Mustang and disturbed the standing water.
4. The driver of the Mustang lost control of the vehicle and entered the northbound ditch approximately 150 feet south of a drainage culvert.
5. The Mustang floated an estimated 2-4 minutes, moving approximately 150 feet to the culvert. After that, the force of the water moved the vehicle and its driver through the culvert.
6. The vehicle was located approximately 105 feet west of the culvert outlet and 115 feet south. The driver’s body was located approximately 25 feet southwest of the vehicle.

The official investigative report is available upon request of the Kansas Highway Patrol by calling (785) 296-6800.

“Based upon this report as well as our long-term needs study, the KTA will continue to make improvements to meet customer expectations,” said KTA CEO Steve Hewitt. “Our customers want to know the road is safe. We want that too.”

The Kansas Turnpike Authority remains focused on customer safety and will continue to make improvements to enhance the experience and safety of those using the roadway. In the past decade, the Turnpike has conducted reviews of nearly all the drainage areas along the roadway, installed water level monitoring systems at two drainage boxes, repositioned concrete median barriers to help facilitate drainage, and contracted with a custom weather forecasting company.

Download PDF to read entire release.

July 16, 2015 Media Release

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KTA Fact

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.