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State to fund county no-passing zone study
This will cover 77 miles of blacktops
no-passing zone study
Pictured is a no-passing zone on the Barton County-maintained portion of Railroad Avenue Tuesday afternoon. The County Commission Wednesday morning approved a Kansas Department of Transportation road no-passing zone study and signing project. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Commission to meet with GB Council

The Barton County Commission will meet jointly with the Great Bend City Counsel at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Courthouse Conference Room, 1400 Main, Room 101, Great Bend. This marks the third such annual joint meetings.

Barton County was selected for a Kansas Department of Transportation road no-passing zone study and signing project. Having the study done makes the county roads safer and puts the county in a better place to receive future KDOT funding, County Engineer Barry McManaman said, addressing the County Commission Wednesday morning.

The state-funded project will analyze the need for no passing zones and signing on 77 miles of roads, he said.  These county blacktops, primarily in the southern half of Barton County, have not previously been studied for no passing zones. 

 KDOT just asked the commission to approve the project, which it did. The agency will cover the total design and construction cost, estimated at $171,000.

“I think it’s a good safety improvement for the county,” he said.


“We applied for a state High Risk Rural Roads-funded project in which we would have an engineering study done on about 77 miles of our county blacktop roads,” McManaman said. This would determine the proper location of no-passing zones so the county could install the required yellow, pennant-shaped signs. 

The county has had a couple of projects in the past where a consulting firm did a study that led to no-passing signage  on “major collector routes.”  “With this project, we’re going to go back and finish up some of those major collector routes that have not had studies done,  and then throwing in some minor collector and local black tops,” in addition to that,” he said.

It has other ramifications. “One of the things that KDOT requires if we apply for funding to do a project (to help with road striping for example) they’re going say, ‘do you have an engineering study?’” he said, noting the study is required to be eligible for the money.

“So it kind of gets that first step out of the way,” he said.

The area covered

The roads included are primarily in the southwest and southeast quadrants of the county. It covers the area south of K-96 and U.S. 56 west of SE 60 Avenue (the Dartmouth blacktop). 

“The nice thing about this project is it’s estimated to cost about $171,000 and KDOT will cover 100% of the design and construction costs,” he said. “So it’s a heck of a deal for the county.”

This is just the first step of this project, McManaman said.

“They just want us to say ‘yes, go ahead with program,’” he said. “In a few months, we’ll be getting an agreement from KDOT and the commission will be asked to sign the actual formal agreement.”

After this, McManaman said the county will contract with a consulting firm to do the study. They plan to have this done by November 2024 at which time KDOT would let the bids for the project work to be done in 2025.

The Road and Bridge Department reseals roughly a quarter of the nearly 400 miles of paved roads in the county each year. McManaman said they will coordinate with Road and Bridge on the sign installation and the striping of the roads with the new double solid yellow no-passing lines.

There are already no-passing zones in the area. Previous county engineers and Road Department officials “have gone out and taken a look at them,” he said

“Some of it could be, quite honestly, by just good judgement that they determined where those hills are and where a no-passing zone might need to be,” he said. 

“So, this will be  an official study that we can have documented,” he said.

no-passing map
The Barton County blacktops highlighted in color are the ones covered in an upcoming no-passing zone study.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Wednesday morning:

• Approved a Kansas Department of Transportation road no-passing zone study and signing project in the southeast and southwest portions of the county. KDOT will cover the total design and construction cost, estimated at $171,000.

• Approved a resolution transferring monies from the General Fund to the Barton County Employee Trust Fund.

The county has traditionally provided certain funding to source employee engagement. As the Employee Relations Committee has been dissolved, it is suggested that the commission transfer $10,000 to be used for employee engagement, County Administrator Matt Patzner said.  In addition, Human Resource Director Brenda Kaiser will be tasked with development of an Employee Engagement Committee. 

• Following the agenda meeting, the commission started holding budget request meetings with county departments and outside agencies that ran through the afternoon.

These included:

– The Center for Counseling and Consultation

– Barton County Fair Board

– Public Health

– Volunteers in Action-RSVP

– Southwest Developmental Services

– Sheriff, Adult Detention, Juvenile Detention

– Fire District No. 1

– Ambulance Services

– Barton County Historical Society

– Information Technology

– County Attorney