Rural Freight Technology Project For Western Kansas

Western Kansas communities and businesses will benefit from the deployment of the Great Plains Rural Freight Technology Corridor project on a key freight transport route in western Kansas.

According to the Kansas Governor’s Office, the $14.6 million project will install 100 miles of fiber-optic cable and advanced technologies on a 100-mile stretch of U.S. 83 from southern Finney County to northern Thomas County. The resulting communication system will deliver real-time traffic, weather, and other operational information to commercial trucking to optimize freight routing.

The Rural Freight Technology Corridor was heralded by Kansas Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam during a visit to the McCarty Family Farms flagship operation on U.S. 83 near Rexford in Thomas County. McCarty Farms’ letter of support helped the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) win a $6.7 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration, one of only 10 projects selected nationwide.

KDOT is providing $7.9 million in matching funds.

U.S. 83 is a major freight route, particularly for agriculture products, with about 5,000 commercial trucks using the route daily.

Project technology includes sensors and cameras to provide real-time information to drivers such as weather conditions and traffic crashes. Truckers will access the information via hands-free devices. The information will also be available on KDOT’s KanDrive site for anyone to view and for trucking dispatch centers to relay conditions to drivers. The system will upgrade communication with emergency responders.