TOPEKA (KSNT) – A new report says Kansas ranks 6th in the nation when it comes to crumbling, deteriorating rural roads and bridges, and is 16th in the nation in the number of fatal accidents on those roads.
With more than 130,000 miles of rural roads, safety engineer Steven Buckley says the findings aren’t surprising to him.
“Kansas ranks third nationally in miles of public roads…but in terms of federal funding, we rank 36th,” he says.
and with the current dollar-to-mile ratio…
“The challenge then, is taking the resources that we do have and the dollars that we do have, and spreading those throughout the state” he says. “And trying to drive down the fatality and serious injury numbers”.
The report says in 2012 there were 277 deaths on rural roads in Kansas, 16th worst in the nation that year.
But the Kansas Department of Transportation tells Kansas First News the number dropped to 244 last year, which is good news.
Improving Kansas’ roads and their spot on the list is no quick fix. it’s going to require lots of time and money.”
And while more money would be nice, on rural roads it’s not necessarily needed…
“Those roads, again, are very low volume roads. 10-50 vehicles a day. Very, very low volumes.” says Ron Seitz, Chief of Local Projects for the K-DOT.
“It’s not very cost effective to put money into those roads,” adds Sietz “Again, with the big network it would take a huge amount of money to bring all of that up to a state highway standard.”
However both men agree there are many road and bridge improvements, rural and highways, that are needed.
” People maintain their lawn and tractors, people maintain their cars,” says Buckley. “We have to maintain our roads.”
Read the full report, and its recommendations, here.