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Work progressing on K-4 overlook
new deh county commission K4 Overlook Tower image use web
Shown is an artists conception of the Cheyenne Bottoms scenic overlook tower to be built on K-4 east of Hoisington. - photo by Tribune file photo

County unpaid leave policy updated


After recently participating in an Americans with Disabilities Act course, County Administrator Richard Boeckman realized that certain county policies in the Employee Handbook needed updating. Generally, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has indicated that a maximum leave policy, such as the county has now, may violate the ADA.  

As a result, Boeckman recommended and the County Commission approved Monday an update to the county’s unpaid leave policy. It will now read “unpaid leave in excess of 20 days will be considered if necessary as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the American’s with Disabilities Act.” 

The old policy provided for a max of 10 days with 10 more possible upon approval. Boeckman said a limit can be established, but accommodations must be made for extreme cases and handicaps.

In other business Monday morning, the commission:

• Approved a change order for a bridge project east of Great Bend on East Barton County Road in the amount of $1,950. The work will be done by Terracon Consultants of Wichita.

County Engineer Barry McManaman said the Kansas Department of Transportation bridge project calls for the construction of a geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge system that would replace a failing concrete box bridge. Barton County hired Terracon to perform testing of the existing geology and provide the results for use by Kirkham Michael in designing the bridge. 

During the final review of the plans, KDOT notified Kirkham Michael that a global stability analysis must be performed to assure ground stability. Kirkham Michael recommended that the additional services be provided by Terracon. 

 Construction on the much-anticipated Cheyenne Bottoms scenic overlook east of Hoisington on K-4 could begin in November, the Barton County Commission learned Monday morning. This news came after commissioners approved a revised memorandum of understanding with the Kansas Division of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism which is splitting the cost of the project with the county.

On May 4, 2015, the commission entered into a memorandum of understanding with KDWPT. However, the agency suggested an addendum reflecting the most recent costs, said County Administrator Richard Boeckman.

In August of this year, the commission OKed a contract with L&M Construction of Great Bend for $328,746. Under the Kansas Department of Transportation grants covering the project, the county will split 20 percent of the cost ($85,000) with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

The county, partnering with the KDWPT, received two grants from the KDOT and the Federal Highway Administration for the improvements. Technically, there are two phases involved in this effort, the paving of the parking lot and sidewalks, and the tower and this contract covers both.  

After several modifications, KDOT solicited bids for grading, surfacing and roadside improvements, county officials said. 

It was up to KDOT to let the bids for the project. However, proposals received earlier this year came in much higher than anticipated so it was rebid.

L&M came in with the best offer and this time, it fell within the limits set by KDOT.

If work begins this autumn, it could be completed by next spring, weather permitting.

The project includes a 10-foot timber viewing tower accessed by a series of handicapped- accessible ramps. In addition, there will be a paved sidewalk leading to the site from the current site of the information kiosk and parking lot, which will also be paved.

The overlook sits just off of K-4 between Hoisington and Claflin.