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'Point of Rocks' landmark in west Kansas might move

Jack Fox, whose property includes the Point of Rocks geographic formation, told Dodge City commissioners this week that the Department of Transportation's plan for a 60-foot median between eastbound and westbound lanes of an expanded U.S. 50, the metal silhouette will have to be moved.

The Associated Press

1/23/2014

DODGE CITY, Kan. — The lasso-wielding cowboys sitting atop a geographic rock formation just west of Dodge City will have to mosey along if state transportation officials move forward with their preferred highway expansion plan.

Jack Fox, whose property includes the Point of Rocks geographic formation, told Dodge City commissioners this week that the Department of Transportation's plan for a 60-foot median between eastbound and westbound lanes of an expanded U.S. 50, the metal silhouette will have to be moved.

"There isn't another place that is more perfect than that is," Fox told the City Commission on Tuesday. "It's up on the hill, you can see it from far away. The cowboys, that's how they ran over the rocks. It's just the perfect place for it."

KDOT cites safety reasons for preferring an option that would add a 60-foot median as the road passes Point of Rocks, the Dodge City Globe (http://bit.ly/1cZ3whd ) reported.

An alternative plan would put all four lanes on a single roadbed separated by a 16-foot, unraised asphalt median.

Both options would remove portions of the Point of Rocks and add a retaining wall designed to look like rock. They are a compromise from earlier renderings that would have completely removed the sandstone formation.

The metal sign welcoming visitors to Dodge City was put up in early 1997, city spokeswoman Jane Longmeyer said. The city's 20-year lease with Fox to have the sign on his property expires in 2017, and the transportation department has said construction isn't scheduled to begin until 2018.

There's no specific timetable for officials to make a decision on the highway project.

Fox said he purchased the property because it included the Point of Rocks.

"I hope you'll go with us on the 16-foot median rather than the 60, because I don't want to lose more of it than I have to," he told commissioners.

KDOT officials have met with proponents of the Santa Fe trail — where the rock landmark was a beacon for wagon trains and cattle drives in the 1800s — and are reviewing alternatives and their costs.

The highway can only be expanded north because of the existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe train track and Arkansas River flood plain on the south side of the highway.

Information from: The Dodge City (Kan.) Globe, http://www.dodgeglobe.com

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