It's a sure sign that spring has arrived in Kansas when the ground begins sprouting those brightly colored symbols of the changing of the seasons.
Yes, it's time for road construction again in Kansas.
Two construction projects will impact the immediate area around Pratt. The first project is an asphalt overlay starting at the intersection of U.S. 54 and K-61 on the east edge of Pratt, said Scott Mullen, Kansas Department of Transportation area engineer.
The project will cover 4.4 miles east to the intersection of 60th Avenue. That is one mile west of the truck washout and the Waldeck grain elevator.
The other project in Pratt County is also an asphalt overlay. It is on K-64 that runs from south U.S. 281 east to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism then north to U.S. 54.
During the project, even though it will take several weeks, it will not prevent anyone from getting to KDWPT although it will block the K-64 entrance for a very brief time when they are resurfacing right in front of the building.
"There shouldn't be any access problems for Wildlife and Parks," Mullen said.
On the U.S. 54 project, some surface areas will be milled before putting the new asphalt overlay down. On the K-64 project, the entire length, about 3.5 miles, will be milled then new asphalt put down, Mullen said.
Construction on both projects is scheduled to start around April 1 depending on weather conditions with completion date scheduled for the middle of May.
During construction, traffic will follow a flag man and pilot car so drivers can expect up to a 15 minute delay and should make travel plans accordingly. The construction zones will move each day and will be active during daylight hours only, Mullen said.
Because of construction, each roadway will have width constriction. The U.S. 54 construction will be restricted to 12 feet in width so vehicles wider than 12 feet will have to use an alternate route.
The K-64 construction will be restricted to 11 feet in width so vehicles wider than 10 feet will have to choose an alternate route, Mullen said.
The prime contractor for both projects is APAC Kansas Inc., Shears Division from Hutchinson. The U.S. 54 project is $847,000 and the K-64 project is $288,000. Both projects are funded by T-WORKS transportation program, Mullen said.
Another major highway construction project also scheduled to start around April 1 is the upgrade of U.S. 54 from two-lane to four-lane from one mile east of Cairo, where the four-lane ends now, west to 60th Avenue, a distance of five miles.
Construction on all four lanes of this section will be on the north side of the existing highway and should not interfere with regular traffic.
The four-lane project includes grading, building bridges and surfacing. It is scheduled for completion in fall 2014. Koss Construction of Topeka is contractor for this $26.2 million project that is also funded through T-WORKS.
Construction on additional eight miles of four-lane in Kingman County is already under way with completion also scheduled for completion in fall 2014.
In all construction zones, drivers are reminded to obey speed limits be extra alert for construction workers and equipment.