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KDOT agrees to landmark-saving compromise


A compromise of a 16-foot median is the solution to US Highway 50 expansion between Dodge City and Cimarron, Kansas reported the Dodge City Daily Globe.

The original plan would have leveled Point of Rocks, a formation used by travelers and cowboys as a navigational landmark on the Santa Fe Trail.

Heritage and resident groups convinced the Kansas Department of Transportation to explore other options.

KDOT engineers preferred an option to move the route north, completely eliminating the issue.  A new interchange with US-400 would have been created with this solution.  It also would have cost an additional $15 million.

The middle-ground solution includes a 16-foot median, cutting into the rock formation, and covering the face with a false rock retaining wall.  The wall will resemble the sandstone, and provide more safety than the underlying brittle rock.

"We're very pleased with the outcome and that KDOT was willing to compromise," said Bill Bunyan, the Dodge City area chapter president of the Santa Fe Trail Association. "We think it's for the best to save the Point and the Dodge City sign."

"I'm pleased that KDOT and our local partners were able to come up with a solution that meets the transportation needs of the region and is responsive to the wishes of many people in Southwest Kansas," said Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King in a statement. "I appreciate the input of all interested stakeholders and their willingness to engage in a dialogue on this issue."

Construction is expected to begin in 2018.