Kansas Department of Transportation Responsible & Responsive "...to provide a statewide transportation system to meet the needs of Kansas."
Kansas Department of  Transportation Link
 
Interstate 50 years 1956 - 2006 logo
Interstate Anniversary Home Page
The Kansas Interstate Story
Kansas Interstate Projects
Special Events
Special Events
Special Events
News Information


 Kansas celebrates 50 years of Interstates

I-70 and the Sinkhole in Russell County




Geological Marvel Threatened Pavement

Two active sinkholes in Russell County forced engineers to alter their plan for reconstructing a short stretch of I-70. Because of unsuccessfully plugged oil well shafts that were abandoned in the 1940s and 1950s, water moves between underground layers and has found a layer of salt 1,300 feet below the surface. As the salt dissolves away, the ground above it sinks and takes with it the asphalt surface of I-70.

The problem was first discovered in 1966 when I-70 was being built. Engineers had graded the dirt to what they thought was the final grade before beginning the paving process but the grade was lower a few months later. As a result, the roadway has been raised and resurfaced a number of times as the ground beneath it sinks. A county road bridge over the highway was also sinking and prevented raising and resurfacing I-70 in 2004 because the clearance under the bridge was not sufficient. In 2004, the bridge was removed, new surface drainage was constructed, and the highway was again raised to the proper level.

The area is dubbed the most surveyed piece of ground in Kansas as geologists and engineers document elevations in the area every six months. The gradual sinking occurs at a rate of 4-5 inches per year.

   


background

The Adobe® PDF icon .PDF indicates that Adobe Reader® software is required to view a document

To request an alternative accessible format of a KDOT publication, please contact Transportation Information, Eisenhower Building,
700 SW Harrison, 2nd Floor West, Topeka, KS, 66603-3745, or (785) 296-3585 (Voice)/Hearing Impaired - 711.
Disclaimer | Contact Us | Kansas.gov
Copyright © 2005 Kansas Department of Transportation