KDOT between 'Point of Rocks' and a hard place

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Dodge City, Kan. -- As the saying goes we all at one time or another can find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.

Well, KDOT finds itself squeezed between the 'Point of Rocks' landmark and railroad tracks where it needs to widen U.S. Highway 50 just west of Dodge City.

The 'Point of Rocks' is a landmark used by pioneers on the Santa Fe trail as well as by those on cattle drives in the 1800's to point them in the right direction. In recent years it's become a welcoming gateway to those coming from the west into Dodge. There's a large Dodge City sign and metal statues of cowboys on the hill.

Bill Bunyan is chapter president of the Santa Fe Trail Association. Bunyan and others are petitioning KDOT to save as much of the landmark as possible.

Bunyan says KDOT's original highway plan called for removing the whole landmark because there would be 60 feet of median between the traffic lanes.

But KDOT spokesman Kirk Hutchinson says, "It's not a matter of wanting to destroy the landmark. But we do need to build a highway. And we need to make it as safe as we can and a divided highway is the best answer."

Hutchinson says KDOT designers are wrestling with how to satisfy the competing interests and still get the highway widened.

Bunyan says, "We're just trying to save as much as possible of the 'Point of Rocks.' We're not fighting the fact of a four lane highway. We just want them to squeeze it in."

Hutchinson says KDOT is looking at alternatives and will be meeting with the interested groups December 17th to present those ides to them.

KDOT hopes to start work on the project in 2018.


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