Some new paint and signage on blacktop roads will make them safer for Finney County drivers.

Finney County engineer John Ellerman said the county will be adding center line stripes and updating no passing zones.

Funding for the project is from High Risk Rural Road grants through the Kansas Department of Transportation. Initially, the county will have to pay for all the striping but will get a 100% reimbursement through the grant, Ellerman said.

Besides the striping, the county will also be installing "no passing zone" pennants on the side of the road to mark the start of the no passing zones. The pennants are a new feature and have not been used in the county, Ellerman said.

The pennants weren't required years ago when the county started striping and haven't been required since.

Over the years, some road speeds have been increased to 65 mph. This has changed the distance necessary to pass safely. Updating the no passing zones will confirm that drivers are passing in the correct areas.

"By striping our center lines, we ensure that roads stay safe," Ellerman said.

Center lines tend to fade out in the sun. The old paint would only last a year or two but the new stripes should last from five to seven years, depending on the traffic.

Ellerman said the striping will cover over 200 miles of county road, so the process will take some time. The striping will take place only on county blacktop roads. No state highways, city streets or subdivisions will be striped.

The county decided to go ahead and proceed with the painting when grant money became available. The county applied for and got the grant.

"It's a project we couldn't pass up," Ellerman said. "The project is 100% reimbursed through the state."

Now that the grant has been approved, a construction engineer will be hired to prepare a construction design. Ellerman will meet with the design team to establish a timetable.

Once the design plans are complete and approved, the project is expected to be let out in September 2020. When the county gets the plans, it will develop a count of working days for the project, Ellerman said.

While it is a county project, the Kansas Department of Transportation will let out bids. The estimated cost of the project is $484,000.