Kansas Department of Transportation - Southeast Kansas announced U.S. Highway 169 traffic has been reduced to one lane in each direction at the U.S. Highway 169 and U.S. Highway 160 junction in Montgomery County. 

The project is to construct a grade-separated interchange at the north junction.

KDOT Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen said, "We are in the earliest phases of this project that will convert the north junction to an interchange. During the next 30 days KDOT crews will be building a crossover for head-to-head U.S. 169 traffic." KDOT asks drivers to obey warning signs and reduce speed to 50 miles per hour in the work zone. Remember to "Give 'Em a Brake" in work zones.

"The U.S. 169/U.S. 160 project has numerous phases and KDOT will be providing updates concerning construction activity and changes in traffic control as we move through this year and into 2020," Petersen said. "For now, we would like to reinforce the junction is an active work zone with a reduced speed limit of 50 miles per hour. Please slow down and use extra caution in the area."

National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 8 to 12 and the theme for 2019 is "Drive Like You Work Here." KDOT asks drivers to slow down and move over as well as "Give 'Em a Brake" when they see highway workers. "We want our crews to get home safely," KDOT officials said.

One way to show support for Kansas highway workers is to wear orange April 11. Many locations across Kansas will be lit up in orange such as, the governor's residence - Cedar Crest, Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge, City of Topeka, City of Lenexa, 87th St. Bridges in Lenexa, Kansas State Visitors Center, Kansas Turnpike Headquarters, Eisenhower State Office Building, All KDOT district offices and the Travel Information Center on I-70 near Goodland.

Some 2018 Kansas Work Zone statistics are frightening. Although the data is unofficial at this time, their study shows the total of crashes were 1,396 with five resulting in fatalities. There were 358 injury crashes in 2018 with 398 injuries total. The incomplete study stated of the five people killed in work zone crashes, they were all motorists. Compared to the 2017 statistics, the total number of crashes was down in 2018 — 1,795 in 2017 compared to 1,396 in 2018 — but showed 12 persons killed compared to five in 2018. 

Work zone safety tips offered by KDOT say to follow traffic control, stay alert, watch for workers, expect delays, allow ample space between you and the car in front of you and change lanes when directed to do so. Some work zone facts about Kansas KDOT offered were that about 85 to 90 percent of the time, people injured in work zone crashes are motorists, fines double in all Kansas work zones whether it be major construction projects or short-term maintenance projects, top contributing circumstance of work zone crashes is attention, an average of 3.8 work zone crashes happened every day in Kansas in 2018, speeding up to 65 mph from 55 mph will only save one minute on a six-mile trip, and, most importantly, the Kansas Move Over law requires drivers on four-lane highways to switch to the lane furthest from a stationary vehicle displaying flashing lights if safe to do so and on two-lane highways drivers are asked to slow and down and proceed with cautions. Maybe the $195 fine plus court costs will deter violators. 

A Work Zone Safety news conference will take place April 11 at the KDOT Area Four Office at I-70 and Gage Blvd. in Topeka. Speakers will include, KDOT Secretary Julie Lorenz, KDOT Belleville Highway Maintenance Supervisor Kade Cooper, KDOT Wichita Highway Maintenance Supervisor Ted Coleman, and Kansas Turnpike Authority Admire Equipment Operator Kayne Kraus.