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I-70 western Kansas control cities

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J N Winkler:
Web searching does little good in this particular case because KDOT doesn't put its control city guidance on the Web.  (It should!)  I have seen it, however, and here are the basic rules:

*  Interstate control cities are as laid down by AASHTO--in the case of I-70 that means Denver, Hays, Salina, Topeka, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

*  On state highways other than Interstates, the following are chosen (in descending order of priority) as control points:  (1) county seat within 100 miles; (2) incorporated city within 100 miles having population greater than 1000; (3) major highway route; (4) incorporated city with population less than 1000; and (4) unincorporated community.

Control points have changed over time and KDOT does not systematically update signs to reflect these changes.  On I-70 KDOT did a major signing contract in western Kansas around 1999 (KDOT project number 106 K-5927-99), at a time when Limon was still a control city on I-70 in Kansas, and many of these signs are still up.  They are being replaced piecemeal in Interstate reconstruction contracts (several of which are either planned or in progress on I-70 in far western Kansas) and in a smaller I-70 signing contract let in 2011 (KDOT project number 106 KA-1892-01).  The newer signs use the current control cities as listed above.  The mixture of old and new signs explains why direction signs may say "Denver" at one interchange and "Limon" at the next.

In the case of Plainville versus Stockton on US 183, both towns are in Rooks County, which is the next county north of Ellis County, whose seat is Hays.  Stockton is the county seat, but Plainville is larger.  Current rules therefore dictate the choice of Stockton as the control point for US 183 northbound at I-70, despite the historical use of Plainville.  (The version of the control point assignment rules I have seen dates from 2007.  I suspect, but cannot confirm, that they were essentially the same in the past, but that KDOT was--until recently--more willing to make exceptions for Plainville and other anomalous control-point choices around the state on the basis of size and traffic importance.)

P.S.  "Control city" is a tricky term.  The gold standard for determining whether a state considers a particular destination to be a "control city" is its use on a pull-through sign, for which the MUTCD limits forward destinations to just one.  The mere fact that a destination appears on a mileage sign is not proof that it is a control city.  In western Kansas (where pull-through signs are rare as hen's teeth) the usual rule is to use only I-70 control cities on signs which point to an I-70 on-ramp, and to have an I-70 control city as at least one destination on a mileage sign on I-70 itself.

ShawnP:
My dear sympathies for driving on I-70 thru Western Kansas. One of the most boring, dull, uninteresting drives you can have.

kphoger:
I grew up in northwestern Kansas, thirty miles north of I-70.  I think it's just fine and dandy, thank you very much.  All I'll say on the subject is that Goodland would have been a great choice, and it's surprising it was shot down.  Even though Limon is a highway junction town, I would venture that more motorists are familiar with Goodland than Limon.

J N Winkler:
I think AASHTO made the correct decision in shooting down Goodland as an I-70 control city--it is neither a large town (population is just 4,500) nor a point of route divergence (it has just one other state highway, K-27, which intersects I-70 at a right angle).  Limon is a plausible control city purely because it is a point of route divergence (US 24, 40, and 287 all join or leave alignments independent of I-70 in or near the city); its population is under 2,000 and one of the biggest employers in town, if indeed not the biggest, is the Colorado state penitentiary.  The least populous Interstate control city in Kansas, Hays, has a population of over 20,000, while Emporia (population 25,000) is not an Interstate control city even though it is a point of route divergence.

Goodland as a control city would have been in the same vein as Sharon, Clarion, Du Bois, Clearfield, Bellefonte, Williamsport, Bloomsburg, Hazleton, Stroudsburg, Delaware Water Gap or The Dalles, Pendleton, La Grande, Baker, Ontario.

agentsteel53:

--- Quote from: ShawnP on August 21, 2012, 10:08:09 AM ---My dear sympathies for driving on I-70 thru Western Kansas. One of the most boring, dull, uninteresting drives you can have.

--- End quote ---

I don't mind it, but I much prefer the two-laners out there.  I have absolutely no objection to Great Plains; they may not be as over-the-top spectacular as the Rockies, but they have a beauty of their own ... especially during thunderstorm season!



(this is the closest to I-70 I found offhand... it was near Hill City, KS)


--- Quote from: kphoger on August 21, 2012, 11:36:05 AM ---I grew up in northwestern Kansas, thirty miles north of I-70.  I think it's just fine and dandy, thank you very much.  All I'll say on the subject is that Goodland would have been a great choice, and it's surprising it was shot down.  Even though Limon is a highway junction town, I would venture that more motorists are familiar with Goodland than Limon.

--- End quote ---

I have probably heard of Goodland, but do not recall it offhand.  I'm definitely familiar with Limon, because it is indeed the junction of many routes.  Or maybe this is because I spend about equal amounts of time in eastern Colorado as in western Kansas.  perhaps Kansas locals know more about Goodland than those like me who are agnostic to which exact state they are in while exploring the Great Plains.

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