Monthly Employee PublicationFebruary 2009TranslinesDEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONKDOT launchesonline communitySee page 5I nside .u Roadside practices being reviewedu Supersize load crosses Kansasu KDOT uses two-lift pavement processu Cost savings blowin’ in the windu Now is the time for creativity
PAGE 2By SecretaryDeb MillerNow is the timefor creativityThese are truly remarkable times.So tell me something I don’t know, you might bethinking. How about this: remarkable times call for remarkable actions. OK, that’s not much more insightful, butit does set the stage to write about some of the fresh approaches we’re taking as an agency to be responsible andresponsive. In this issue of Translines you can read aboutthree of these new approaches.First, at our Osborne Subarea shop, we have just installed a wind turbine (size-appropriate for residences andsmall buildings – not the giants you see along I-70 and insouthwest Kansas). The turbine is expected to provide 30percent of the facility’s electricity needs and even generateenough power to sometimes sell back to the local provider.A second turbine is being installed at the Grainfield Subarea shop and a study by K-State will help us determinehow applicable turbines can be at other offices and restareas. This saves the state money and is in keeping withthe Governor’s green initiative.The second innovative approach we are trying in-DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONEisenhower Building2nd Floor West,700 SW Harrison,Topeka, Ks 66603-3754Governor: Kathleen SebeliusSecretary of Transportation: Deb MillerChief of Transportation Information: Steve SwartzEditors: Stan Whitley and Kim StichPhone/TTY: (785) 296-3585 u FAX: (785) 296-0287volves communication. In mid-January, KDOT launchedone of the nation’s first (if not the first) government-sponsored online communities. K-TOC, or the Kansas Transportation Online Community, is a professional networkingsite, a virtual meeting place and a conversation center foranyone who has an interest in transportation. It is a placefor transportation-minded people to ask questions, offeropinions, promote ideas, views photos and videos, trackupcoming events and more. I’m proud that we have foundan application in government for an online community andI encourage all of you to join.The final innovation you can read about in this issue is also a government application of a growing onlinephenomenon. At least three of our districts are making useof Twitter to push quick, timely snippets (140 charactersmaximum) of information about road and traffic conditionsto “followers.” While the number of followers is small atthis point, they are increasing and our effort has been written about in the Wichita Eagle.This will be a very challenging year for KDOT and thestate. Even though it feels like we should have hit the bottom of the economic crisis by now, who knows if we have?While we don’t claim to have originated any of theseinnovations, we have seen, or been receptive to, an application of each as a way to do what we do more efficiently andeffectively. Some of the new ideas we come up with in thefuture may not work as well as others, but that’s no reasonto limit ourselves only to what has worked in the past.Miles Davis, who was as innovative as any musician everwas, said, “Don’t play what’s there; play what’s not there.”In each case I’ve described, an individual or group ofindividuals at KDOT envisioned something that hadn’tpreviously been there for us and implemented a new wayfor us to approach our work.And that’s exactly the kind of creativity we will needto see us through these remarkable times.e.On thCOVERBuffalo can be seen near K-62 north of Soldier. Photo bySonya Scheuneman
PAGEMake that a supersize load across KansasBy Stan WhitleyAs superloads go, this was one for the record books.“The majority of superloads are in the 200,000-poundrange, some around 500,000 pounds and even up to 700,000pounds,” said John Culbertson, KDOT Bridge Evaluation Engineer in Design, “but we’ve never had one this big before.”Try this on for size – 947,000 pounds, being carried on 25axles with a bumper to bumper length of 290.5 feet. The loadpassed through the state Jan. 2-6 on its way from Houston toFort Saskatchewan, Alberta.The cargo was a steam condenser being transported bySouthwest Industrial Rigging. Final destination on the 2,309mile trip was a Shell energy plant in Fort Saskatchewan, about11 miles northeast of Edmonton.The massive load traveled 276 miles through Kansas inDistricts Three and Six. At Headquarters, KDOT was responsible for analyzing and mapping the routes and had to workclosely with the two districts to accomplish the task. With theextreme weight and the fact the load was almost 20 feet, 73inches high, strict guidelines had to be followed in the transit.The Kansas Trucking Connection was responsible for issuing the 5 special permit to travel through Kansas.“They were delayed going through Kansas because theydidn’t have their permit from Nebraska yet,” said Culbertson.“They had to wait three days at Oakley before they couldcontinue traveling.”The load was parked three days at an open lot near theU.S. 83 and U.S. 40 junction before moving again on Jan. 6.Besides the superload, which was almost the length of afootball field, the traveling party through Kansas also includedescort and utility vehicles. Three escort vehicles were needed,one in front, one behind and a third to useas a rolling roadblock at side roads and intersections to intercept oncomingtraffic well in advance of the load.Bucket trucks were needed to assist with any utility linesor traffic signals that needed to be temporarily moved and theload traveled over 29 bridges at only five miles per hour.A 947,000pound superload travels onU.S. 83 nearSublette on itsjourney fromHouston toFort Saskatchewan, Alberta.KDOT bestowed Superior Employer Award by ASCEKDOT has been bestowed anational honor with the 2008 SuperiorEmployer Recognition Award by theAmerican Society of Civil Engineers(ASCE) Committee on Younger Members.“This is a very prestigious honorthat recognizes KDOT for exemplarytraining and appreciation of youngengineers while promoting theirleadership in Civil Engineering,” saidHoward Lubliner, KDOT Road DesignLeader and Secretary/Treasurer of theASCE Kansas Section.KDOT was one of only twoorganizations selected by the ASCE na-tional chapter to receive the award. Theother winner was Chen and Associates,a private engineering firm in Florida.The award honors both public andprivate sector employers of engineersfor encouraging young engineers (35years of age and under) to becomeinvolved in activities that advance theirprofessional development.This is the second straight yearthat KDOT has been recognized bythe Employer Recognition Program.Last year KDOT was a recipient of the2007 Employer Recognition Awardthat recognizes numerous employeesthroughout the country for their supportof ASCE activities.Opportunities and support foradvanced training/technical development and advanced professionaldevelopment of young engineers werecritical factors evaluated in the selection process. Also, the participation bymany young engineers in ASCE activities and local community outreachprojects were other important factorsconsidered.The ASCE Kansas Section is tentatively planning to recognize KDOT atthe 2009 Kansas Transportation Engineering Conference in commemorationof the achievement. – S.W.
PAGE 4Cost savingsblowin’ in the windBy Steve SwartzKDOT hopes to save some operating costs bytapping a plentiful Kansas resource – wind.A wind turbine installed the first week of Januaryat the Osborne Subarea shop is expected to provide 30percent of the facility’s electricity needs. And, thereshould be some excess electricity that can be soldback to the local power provider. A second turbinewas to be installed in late January at the GrainfieldSubarea facility.“Finding ways to stretch our budget is alwaysimportant. So we decided to research the use ofalternative energy to accomplish that goal at two ofour facilities,” said Deputy Secretary for Engineering/State Transportation Engineer Jerry Younger.Osborne and Grainfield were selected for theinstallations because there is plenty of wind andelectricity costs are relatively high, said Peter Carttar,Assistant Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Constructionand Maintenance, who was tasked with researching and implementing the project. The turbines werepurchased for 12,000 each from PIFM Power ofLincoln, Kan., and the Area crew from Phillipsburgdid the foundation and footing work.The turbines, designed for residential use andmounted about 30 feet off the ground, are far smallerthan the more familiar giants in southwest Kansas and alongI-70 in central Kansas. Phillipsburg Area SuperintendentDoug Driggs said it takes a wind of at least 12 mph to get theturbine started and at least an eight-mph wind to sustain it.Including maintenance costs, said Carttar, it is estimatedthat the payback time will be 10 to 15 years. It is also expected that during periods of lower demand, the state will be ableto sell back some of its excess electricity to the local powerprovider.Driggs said it is rewarding to be part of KDOT’s firstwind energy project.“People around the country are talking about windThis windturbine atthe OsborneSubarea shopis expectedto supply 30percent ofthe facility’selectricityneeds.energy. This is just one way to conserve power,” Driggs said.“The Osborne shop is out in the open and it catches a lot ofwind. It ought to be a good trial place for this.”A study of the project by Kansas State University willhelp determine the applicability of wind energy for other areaoffices and rest areas, Carttar said.“KDOT is a large organization with 112 Subarea officesscattered throughout the state,” he said.“We have lots of remote facilities in places where thewind is good and the electrical costs are relatively high. It’sreasonable that we explore whether this is a good fit for us.”DeathsCondolences to the family andfriends of a KDOT employee and aformer employee who passed away.Jack I. Armershek, 65, an engineerat the Pittsburg area office, died Dec.25 in McCune. He is survived by threebrothers and seven nieces and nephews.Memorial contributions may bemade to the Kansas State UniversitySchool of Engineering ScholarshipFund and sent to Brenner Mortuary, 114E. 4th St., Pittsburg, 66762.Raymond E. Olson, 82, died Dec.12 in Topeka. He had a 37-year careerwith KDOT and retired as the BureauChief of Rural and Urban Development.He is survived by his wife, Janet, oneson and one granddaughter.Memorial contributions may bemade to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church2021 S. W. 29th, Topeka, 66611.
PAGE 5KDOT launches online communityKDOT launched the Kansas Transportation Online Community (K-TOC)on Jan. 14, one of the first governmentsponsored online communities in thecountry.“It’s like a transportation-themedversion of Facebook or Linked-In,” saidK-TOC project manager Patrick Quinn.“It’s a place for transportation professionals across the state to connect andinteract.”Quinn said that more than 80 newusers registered in the 24 hours after thecommunity opened its doors at www.ktoc.net.Online communities are softwareplatforms that permit like-mindedpeople to find one another and communicate one-on-one or within defineddiscussion groups. K-TOC also featuresblogs, daily transportation news storiesand a Transportation Calendar that highlights upcoming notable events.At launch, K-TOC containeddiscussion groups devoted to fundingand economic development, highwayseWelcomTnew KDOs!eeyolpemHeadquartersAimee O’Brian Rosenow,Administrative Specialist, Office ofBudgetShaun Parkman, Research Analyst III,Transportation Safety and TechnologyDistrict OneJames Miller, Equipment OperatorTrainee, TopekaTravis Mooney, Equipment OperatorTrainee, TopekaJacob Sawatzky, EquipmentMechanic, Topekaand local roads, aviation, bicycle andpedestrian topics, rail and freight issuesand public transit. There is also a groupcentered on T-LINK, the governor’sstatewide transportation task force.“We’re actively canvassing the“K-TOC is a virtual meetingplace and conversationcenter for any and alltransportation-mindedprofessionals and citizens.”Gov. Kathleen Sebeliuscommunity to find additional discussiontopics,” said Julie Lorenz, Director ofPublic Affairs. “Given the current publicattention devoted to transportation andeconomic development issues, the possibilities are endless.”Online communities are an exampleof interactive “Web 2.0” technology,which aims to offer users the latest advances in Web networking and personalSteven Simpson, EquipmentMechanic, TopekaDistrict TwoDavid Anderson, Equipment OperatorTrainee, Strong CityMathew Schriner, EquipmentMechanic, SalinaDistrict ThreeBryan Bolen, Equipment OperatorTrainee, Sharon SpringsSydney Cliff, Equipment OperatorTrainee, NortonCurtis Glen, Equipment OperatorTrainee, NortonCasey Madden, Equipment OperatorTrainee, NortonCharles Sanders, Equipment OperatorTrainee, StocktonDistrict FourTommie L. Barrett, EquipmentOperator, Independencecommunication. K-TOC is one of thefirst such initiatives by a large government agency. KDOT is also experimenting with traffic updates on Twitter, thepopular social messaging utility.KDOT sponsors K-TOC, butLorenz emphasizes that the communityis for everyone interested in Kansastransportation policy, including the public. Membership on K-TOC is free andopen to everyone.“We want to hear opinions from allperspectives,” she said. Lorenz said thatthe community will reach out to transportation stakeholders across the state,including KDOT retirees.“K-TOC is a virtual meeting placeand conversation center for any and alltransportation-minded professionals andcitizens,” says Gov. Kathleen Sebeliusin a welcome message posted on thecommunity. “This is a place for building partnerships. If you have a questionabout transportation, someone in thiscommunity probably has the answer.”District SixKody Euliss, Equipment OperatorTrainee, UlyssesJay Hauer, Equipment OperatorTrainee, LiberalRandal Hippen, Equipment OperatorTrainee, LakinRichard Moore, Equipment OperatorTrainee, Ness CityDennis Oberheim, Welder, GardenCityRobert L. Perkins, EquipmentOperator Trainee, JetmoreDavid Rich, Equipment OperatorTrainee, HugotonJuan Romo, Equipment OperatorTrainee, HugotonLeonia Tallant, Equipment OperatorTrainee, RollaDannie White, Equipment OperatorTrainee, Garden CityThe Bureau of Personnel Services supplies information for new hires to Translines.
PAGE 6What is Twitter andwhat does it haveto do with KDOT?By Tom HeinIs it possible to tell a story with only 140 characters?Can one write, in one short paragraph, about the complexities of a traffic change at a highway construction site? Orgive the status of snow-packed or icy roads in an area – injust 140 characters?Maybe – anyway, it’s being tried.Telling a story or giving a quick update is the goalof Twitter, a recent addition to communication in a connected world. Twitter.com is a free social networking andmicro-blogging service using text-based posts of up to 140characters in length. It is part of the loosely defined “Web2.0” that promotes interconnectivity and interactivity ofWeb-delivered content. It is using the Internet as a platformfor business operation with an emphasis on informationsharing and exchange.Twitter messages (tweets) provide instant updates andare used by friends, businesses, non-profit organizations,political campaigns, schools, elected officials, governmentagencies – even KDOT. Public affairs managers in GardenCity, Topeka and Wichita are providing tweets to “followers” on traffic situations, construction or maintenance laneclosures, KDOT news, and other information on transportation-related issues. Followers are those interested enough inthis information to receive the updates on their computer,cell phone or other Web-based device.Can KDOT tell its story in 140 characters? Well, yesand no. We can certainly share information on myriad topics with our customers but, no, this platform can’t give thewhole story. But it does connect us with an expanding groupof the public who want our Twitter news. And who knowswhat the next communication tool coming in Web 2.0 willbe? Whatever it is, KDOT will be looking for applicationsthat will help us serve Kansas.Tweets – keeping it real (and short)Reading KDOT Twitters is easy and can be done anynumber of ways. Two easy ways are to bookmark (add toFavorites) the Webpage or open a Twitter account and follow the Twitter accounts you like. So far, KDOT accountsare pretty straightforward: www.twitter.com/GardenCityKDOT, www.twitter.com/KansasCityKDOT, www.twitter.com/TopekaKDOT and www.twitter.com/WichitaKDOT.Here are some samples from recent Wichita tweets:sSnowing again in Wichita. Crews cleaning up shoulders,ramps. New moisture not helpful -- need sun (and somewarming would be nice).Temp 8 sNB I-135 NO LANES OPEN north of EB K-96. KFDIreporting wrong-way driver hit 2 semis on NB I-135 btwnK-96 & K-254. Avoid north of Central.sToday 9am-3pm: NB I-235 btwn Kellogg & Central,right lane closed for shoulder work light repairs. 1/2mile work zone.sPreviously suspended K-61 expansion project in RenoCo. bids to be opened Feb. 4. Hutch to McPher Co., 9miles, 4 lanes, 58M est.sHighway striping on K-96 west of Maize today. Movingoperation with short, single lane closure. On to K-254 NEof Wichita if they finish.sFreezing rain in Wichita area starting at about midnight?Crews being called in now. Some ice in Hutch; snow inNW & NC KS.sEB Kellogg at Hillside (to Oliver) CLOSED due to fatality crash. Overhead sign structure hit -- being removed. Tobe closed 1 hour.RetireesThe following employees officiallyretired from KDOT in January.HeadquartersDennis Brecheisen, SystemsSoftware Analyst, Computer ServicesDistrict ThreeSammy Goodale, EquipmentOperator Specialist, St. FrancisEmployees who choose to have retirement reception information shared on theInternet can be found at www.ksdot.org, under News and Announcements.
PAGE 7Miller returns after assignment in IraqMartin Miller, Public AffairsManager in Hutchinson, returned to work at KDOT in earlyDecember after taking a one-yearleave of absence to become aPublic Diplomacy Officer for theU.S. State Department ProvincialReconstruction Team (PRT) inKirkuk, Iraq.PRTs are the civilian component of the U.S surge strategydesigned to support development of local governments andreconstruction of Iraqi provinces.Kirkuk is Iraq’s fourth-largestcity with a population of about700,000 and is located 155 milesnorth of Baghdad. Kirkuk Province is home to one of the world’sMartin Miller, center, meets two Kurdish men during a trip to a Kurdish village.largest oil fields.Some of his work included:uProviding “American Corner”This translated news product is providedrepresenting all of the different ethnicand “Scholastic Books” to the Kirkukto the PRT staff and also to other Stategroups in one big celebration designedUniversity and Kirkuk Public Schools.Department officials in the Baghdadto promote reconciliation among theuOrganizing meetings for theEmbassy to monitor local public issues.people of Kirkuk.Kirkuk Provincial Directorates of HealthuSetting up interviews with IraqiuAssisting with the establishmentand Education with Kurdistan Save themedia and embedded western journalistsof a Media Resource Office to provideChildren to test the eyesight of children.with our PRT Team Leader and otherEnglish language translations of localuSpeaking at the Governor’s Media TV, radio and newspaper news stories.PRT staff.Conference to promote government anduAssisting with planning of fivemedia relations. A local Arabic languageRamadan Iftar dinners held by thenewspaper wrote a full-page article withKirkuk PRT. During the month ofhis comments.Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise touPlanning a NGO (nongovsunset which means not eating or drinkernmental organization) Confer