Kansas highway grants announced

The U.S. Transportation Department announced today that it was awarding $3.9 million in grants to fund a variety of highway projects in Kansas.

The largest grant — $1.65 million — will allow the state to build an "intelligent transportation system" that will use real-time traffic data to help guide motorists through construction zones.

Kim Stich, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said the grant will be used to purchase a variety of equipment designed to get information to drivers on portable signs and the agency's website.

The ultimate goal, she said, is to help drivers navigate safely through work zones. She said KDOT has not determined which project will be the first to use the new technology.

Among the other grants announced today is one for $320,000 that will allow the use of innovative materials during the construction of a new South Broadway bridge in Wichita. The bridge will span the Union Pacific Railroad tracks near 34th Street South, and the materials will improve durability and reduce construction time. Construction is scheduled to start next year.