In 2011, widening a stretch of route 50 by Dodge City was deemed a priority for Southwest Kansas, but turning 16 miles of highway into four lanes meant running into Dodge City’s Point of Rocks.
“Here at night, that sign is illuminated and it is wonderful,” said Bill Bunyan, President of the Dodge City Chapter of the Santa Fe Trails Association. “It is the gateway to Dodge City.”
Early settlers relied on the actual rocks to travel in uncharted land.
“One of our jobs is to preserve the trail, and the sites along it,” said Bunyan.
After receiving so much protest from historic organizations, like the Santa Fe Trails Association, and thousands of signatures on a petition to save the rocks, KDOT has proposed something new.
By bringing the road slightly North, they could have a highway with a wide median, they could create a full interchange with Highway 400, and they’d be able to save the Point of Rocks.
“If we could save the Point of Rocks that would be great, we’re not against that we just have to figure out how to do it,” said the Public Affairs Manager for KDOT Kirk Hutchinson.
“Maybe the little guy can win one!” said Bunyan.
The new proposal would out KDOT $15 million over budget, but they said so far it’s the best compromise they have found.
A decision will be made soon, sometime this spring. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018.