K-7 gets new weight restriction as road conditions worsen

Jordan Meier
Morning Sun

GIRARD, Kan. — Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) officials announced today that K-7 from K-47 at Girard north to K-39 will now have a weight restriction of 20 tons for the foreseeable future.  

The restriction was put in place due to “asphalt failure” within the city limits of Girard.  

Kyler Farmer, KDOT Construction Engineer at Pittsburg, said the problems were caused by the recent cold and snow.  

“K-7, north of the high school, is experiencing damage from the recent extreme cold and moisture we received,” Farmer said in a press release. “Cracks in the pavement have allowed water to enter, freeze and then pop the pavement apart. There is also moisture weeping up under the pavement causing subgrade failure.”  

Farmer also said in the release that heavy truck traffic, which isn’t uncommon on the road, is accelerating the damage which was why the weight limit was put in place.  

“Heavy truck traffic is accelerating the damage and therefore, a weight limit was placed in the city limits while the city does some temporary repairs,” Farmer said. “KDOT is going to pursue an emergency repair starting with an investigation from KDOT Geology.” 

K-7 is a popular route for truckers navigating the southeastern part of the state. With the new restriction in place until at least June 2021, truckers will likely have to utilize the surrounding highways more such as K-126, K-47 and US-69.  

However, this is not the only issue plaguing the stretch of road. For months, the county commission has been discussing the need to put shoulders on K-7 as numerous large trucks have been in accidents on the road due to the narrowness of the road.  

KDOT Southeast District Public Affairs Manager Priscilla Petersen said the department is working on getting that problem taken care of.  

“KDOT has been conducting preliminary engineering activities, including surveying, to design a project that will rehabilitate the roadway and add shoulders to K-7 from Girard north to U.S. 69,” Petersen said. “We are well aware of the issues with truck traffic on the K-7 corridor.”  

Petersen could not provide any timeline of when these two issues will be fixed but did say it was contingent on funding as it becomes available.  

Jordan Meier is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. She can be reached at jmeier@morningsun.net