Travelers on the 12 scenic or historic byways in Kansas will enjoy their trips even more this year because they’ll learn more about Kansas because of new or upgraded interpretive signs. Contractor crews installed the signs at 39 locations across the state.
Kansas Byways benefit the state’s economy
Kansas Byways benefit the state in three areas. Byway routes highlight the beauty, history and heritage of Kansas. They help stimulate the economy through tourism and promote a positive image of the state.
The 12 byways include Land and Sky Scenic Byway. The byway runs 88 miles from the Nebraska-Kansas line south to Sharon Springs. It follows Highway 27, running through Sherman, Cheyenne and Wallace counties.
Total project costs equal $1.44 million
The project cost $1.44 million. It included construction of five new kiosks, rehabilitating 12 current kiosks and their signs, 26 interpretive signage plazas and 12 Kansas Byway welcome boards. The welcome boards guide travelers to the byways across the state.
The new kiosks include the one at the Highway 24-27 intersection in Goodland. KDOT and City of Goodland crews put the finishing touches on the kiosk and site. Sherman County Convention & Visitors Bureau installed solar lights next to the sidewalk. Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) plans to plant wheat grass and later buffalo grass.
Sherman County will also receive a byway welcome board. One of the boards will be installed at the Travel Information Center at Interstate 70’s mile marker 7.
Local byway committee is excited to have signage
Since Land and Sky is new, the byway had no interpretive signage. Because of this, members of the local byway committee highly appreciate the byway enhancements.
“Having the Goodland kiosk is so exciting,” Donna Price, Executive Director of Sherman County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said. “So many people and agencies came together to make this happen. We appreciate all of them.”
In all, the project produced 142 panel surfaces, including the six at the Goodland kiosk. KDOT crews, aided by the City of Goodland’s crews, have completed dirt work at the kiosk. KDOT has opened the boundary wire blocking the kiosk’s sidewalk. The dirt work and wire removal were the last pieces of kiosk construction. Because of KDOT’s work, those who visit the kiosk now have a clear path.
Partnering for progress on Kansas byways
The project’s funding came in two stages. Stage one came in 2010. The FHWA granted KDOT and KDWPT $220,000 that year to develop the Kansas Byways Interpretive Plan. The plan cost $264,000. KDOT and KDWPT evenly split the required 20 percent match of $44,000.
Stage two came in 2014. That year, KDWPT received a two-phase Transportation Alternative Grant from the FHWA. KDOT administered the design and construction. The design cost $235,560. Construction cost $986,168. KDWPT paid the required 20 percent match for each phase.
“The project is the result of a huge partnership, and we want to thank our partners in this effort,” said Scott Shields, KDOT Byways Manager. “They include the National Scenic Byway Program, the FHWA, local byway committees, KDOT and KDWPT staff, local Kansas Byway cities and counties and the KHS.
Land and Sky Scenic Byway committee members
Current members of the Land and Sky Scenic Byway Committee are Helen Dobbs, President; Mona Carver, Vice-President; Price, Secretary/Treasurer; Roxie Yonkey, Coordinator; County Commissioners Larry Enfield of Sherman County, Terry Rieger of Cheyenne County, Bruce Bolen of Wallace County; and committee members Justin Culwell, Rod Klepper, Adam Smith and Chris Welsh.