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Scott Canon / Kansas News Service

Last week, Gov. Laura Kelly made her state’s children the first in the country sent home for the rest of the school year. This weekend, she took unilateral action to clear the way for more telemedicine, to temporarily license more health care workers and to let heavier trucks move on Kansas highways.

The orders, Kelly’s office said in a news release, “will make sure Kansas families can access needed care and supplies until we have weathered this storm.”

Segment 1: "Our infrastructure isn't an asset, it's a liability," said architect Dennis Strait.

In recent years many cities, including our own, have become seemingly unaffordable, not just for the people responsible for running and operating them, but for those who live and work in them as well. So what can be done to make Kansas City a more budget-friendly place?

MoDOT

If your weekend travel plans typically include I-70 in Independence, you'll want to find an alternate route this weekend. 

That's because the Missouri Department of Transporation is shutting down a seven-mile stretch of one of the metro's busiest roadways to make way for a major construction project where I-70 meets I-435 near the Truman Sports Complex. 

Here's what you need to know: 

WHERE: MoDOT plans to shut down westbound I-70 between where Route 291 meets I-470 in Independence to the I-435/I-70 interchange near the stadiums. 

Segment 1: Kansas City's transportation stories to watch in 2020

A preview of the transportation issues KCUR will be following this year included the Kansas City, Missouri streetcar, free bus rides for those in the city, equity and mobility in the single-terminal KCI project and that futuristic 30-minute ride from Kansas City to St. Louis via the Hyperloop.

Segment 1: XP-1, a possible future mode of high-speed transportation, will be on display in Kansas City.

The Hyperloop test pod known as XP-1 is leaving its test site in Nevada and making a stop Kansas City. One expert said, rather than investing in additional lanes for I-70, the multi-billion-dollar hyperloop project could be a more effective use of land, money, and time for travelers between St. Louis and Kansas City. Learn more about the feasibility and funding of the future of transportation. 

NorthPoint Development

The highway interchange at I-70 and the Turner Diagonal in Kansas City, Kansas, will soon get a new look that city officials say is decades overdue.

The full commission of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, unanimously approved a development agreement for a $155 million redevelopment project for the area last week, which will involve a redesign of the heavily trafficked intersection.

Kansas City Public Library

Matt Staub considers himself to be a forward-thinking guy.

And lately, he's been wondering whether, if he'd been a city leader in the 1950s, would he have wanted to build the downtown loop — those four highway arteries that form a boundary around Kansas City, Missouri's central business district.

Seg. 1: The North Loop | Seg. 2: Molly Murphy

May 20, 2019

Segment 1: The North Loop

The creation of the North Loop redefined downtown Kansas City in the mid 1900's. How has this region of the highway system impacted our city's past, present and future?

Segment 1: An iconic KCK neighborhood teeters on the brink of change.

Strawberry Hill overlooks the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, I-70, the West Bottoms and downtown. It's maintained its identity as a Croatian neighborhood, despite several waves of new arrivals and teetering on the edge of gentrification for more than a decade. Could that accelerate? And what would that mean?

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Commuters, take note: Beginning Sunday, the Missouri Department of Transportation will begin closing ramps and lanes at one of Kansas City’s busiest interchanges. 

Kansas lawmakers have given the green light to a slew of bills to proceed past a mid-session break, while stopping other proposals in their tracks. Meanwhile, new KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz is looking forward to getting the state highway program back on the road. 


Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and Kansas Department of Transportation officials outlined plans Wednesday for putting a state highway program abandoned by former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback back on track.

Years of lean budgets prompted annual raids of the state highway fund. With more than $2 billion siphoned off since 2011, it became known as the “bank of KDOT.”

“By reducing transfers from the state highway fund, we move closer to closing the bank of KDOT,” Kelly said at a news conference staged at the transportation agency.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

When Kansas State University Professor Sunanda Dissanayake and other researchers studied traffic fatalities in Kansas, they expected to find that more people had died on the roads.

After all, the state had increased speed limits on some highways to 75 miles per hour. Higher speeds lead to more severe crashes. But they did not expect such a deadly result.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Falling through the cracks

At best, from 2016 to 2017, states kept the number of children without insurance stable.

Most did worse than that.

Kansas saw 5,000 more kids fall into the uninsured category in that year.

Madeline Fox reports that researchers at Georgetown University say the increases in uninsured rates across the country reflected uncertainty about the Children’s Health Insurance Program (aka CHIP) and the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Fill ’er up

Pavement wears down at the same rate whether the cars and trucks rolling over it rely on internal combustion engines for locomotion or on new-fangled hybrid and electric motors.

Yet Kansas, like most other states, relies on gasoline taxes for much of the cost of building its roads and keeping them in reasonable shape.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Segment 1: After a failed gas tax proposal, how does the Missouri Department of Transportation continue to keep roads and bridges safe?

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri retains its status as having the second-lowest gas tax in the United States after voters declined Tuesday to raise it to 27 cents a gallon by 2022.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Hope and change the seat to blue

Former President Barack Obama continues to roll out scores of endorsements in this year’s mid-term congressional elections, hoping to stick his successor with more Democratic resistance on Capitol Hill.

Sharice Davids is among the more than 300 candidates, all Democrats, Obama has backed.

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

Kansas received a passing grade for its highways earlier this week when the state’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers released its latest “infrastructure report card.” However, the engineers also warned that sweeping cuts to Kansas Department of Transportation funding are still causing roadways to suffer.

Nicolas Telep / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri Department of Transportation is getting set to temporarily close all lanes of I-70 in both directions for about seven miles through Kansas City and Independence.

The highway will be shut down between I-435 and I-470/MO-291 from 10 p.m. Friday until about 5 a.m. Monday. The closure runs approximately from the Truman Sports Complex to Independence Center. All on-ramps between the two points will be closed as well.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Starting Saturday, southbound lanes on the Buck O'Neil Bridge will be shut down for construction until December.

This will inconvenience around 44,000 commuters who cross the bridge daily. Here are alternate routes:

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2019 could bring big infrastructure changes to Missouri, but local engineering and commerce experts say it could be hard for the state to compete for federal dollars.

The budget promises to “generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment” by dedicating $200 billion over 10 years to projects like improving roads, expanding internet access in rural areas, and developing creative approaches to transit, energy, water and building. Of that, $100 billion would be awarded as competitive grants to states and local governments who pursue projects “demonstrating innovative approaches” to infrastructure.

file photo

President Donald Trump unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal on Monday built on plans that would more heavily rely on state and local dollars being matched with money from Washington.

For Kansas, that poses both challenges and opportunities. The state is short on funding for new construction work, but it’s already begun looking at other options to pay for roads, bridges and the like.

file photo

Kansas has repeatedly dipped into its highway fund in recent years to balance the budget for all of state government.

Now lawmakers are contemplating a task force to study what that’s meant for the state’s roads and bridges.

Following the borrowing, road projects saw delays across the state. The task force would study the sidelined projects and suggest long-term transportation strategies for Kansas.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Take me out to the ball game . . . or not? Salina, Kansas is home to one of the worst professional baseball teams in the country. Why the Salina Stockade team is still proud. 

Plus, the Buck O'Neil Bridge is reaching the end of its projected lifespan. What does the future hold?

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

It's not easy to navigate the Kansas City area without a car, which makes the health of our highways very important. Today, the chiefs of the Missouri and Kansas departments of Transportation discuss future of I-70 and other roads on both sides of the state line. Then, the search for the next chief of police in Kansas City, Missouri, is down to two candidates. With this pivotal decision looming, we ask: What are residents looking for in their next top cop?

tylerhoff / Flickr - CC

How do you know if your child's day care facility is licensed, and why should you care if it is or not? Today we discuss child care regulation, and why it's so hard to find a trustworthy place that's affordable. Then, sit in the passenger seat as we talk with a "bedbugging" trucker who's got a tale or two to tell about Life on the Road. From a blindfolded trip to a warrior burial ceremony, to what piece of furniture says the most about you in a move — you'll want to hear this.

The New York Times calls him "one of the most acclaimed travel writers of his time." In this encore presentation, a chat with William Least Heat-Moon about his Kansas City roots, his new novel and how he got his name.

Guest:

  • William Least Heat-Moon

Drenaline / Wikimedia Commons

It's a long haul from Kansas City, Kansas, to Kanorado, but driving west on Interstate 70 doesn't have to be boring. Today, we learn about some of the quirky sights and stops to enjoy while traveling the highway's 424 miles in Kansas.

Then, coming out as gay is hard enough, but it can be even more difficult for older men in rural settings. We hear the story of an Iowa psychiatrist who came out after 18 years of heterosexual marriage.

Doug Kerr / Flickr -- CC

It runs from Baltimore to Provo, Utah, and the 1985 World Series was nicknamed after it. And did you know that they started building the very first stretch of it in Missouri, but the first section to be completed was in Kansas? A look at how Kansas and Missouri have been shaped by I-70.

Plus, we hear from a woman who has driven a stretch of I-70 so much that she wrote a song about it.

 

Guests:

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