Road and Bridge Department
Road & Bridge Department in action.
The Road and Bridge Department maintains over 120 miles of roads on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation. The types of driving surfaces are asphalt, gravel, and dirt roads. The roads cover the majority of the 121 square miles of the federally recognized reservation. The department has several employees and the majority of them are members of the PBP Nation. Many successful improvement projects, including upgrades of major roads and bridge replacements have been completed by Road and Bridge in the last decade.
The Tribal Council has supported the growing need for quality infrastructure on the reservation, including roads and bridges. Twenty-two tribally funded bridges have been built in the last thirteen years that have replaced deficient and unsafe structures such as single lane and wood plank bridges.
The very first blacktop on the Reservation was built in 1997 and was BIA funded. When the PBPN added casino gaming, which boosted tribal profits, much of the money in the general funds was devoted to the Reservation infrastructure. According to a Road and Bridge report in 2008, in a 25-year period 29 BIA bridges were built, and in an 11-year period 25 tribal bridges were built, all to an HS-20 load rating. There were also 14.2 miles of BIA funded roads and 16.5 miles of PBP Nation funded roads to modern asphalt totaling 30.7 miles.
For general information, there are five major creeks on the reservation which are Big Soldier, Little Soldier, Crow, Dutch, and Big Elm which comprise the main drainage watersheds. Many small tributaries also dump into the creeks.
The 2008 report also stated that the department had developed a long-range 20-year transportation plan for the reservation using advanced technology systems and that a five-year plan of implementing asphalt blacktop on reservation roads was made possible through tribal general revenue. Other road construction funding sources include the BIA IRR (Indian Reservation Roads). Nationwide there are twelve BIA regions and the PBPN are in the BIA Southern Plains Regional Office located in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Funds are generated by a distribution formula based on the Nation's IRR inventory of road miles and bridges. A BIA PL-93-638 Self Determination Road Maintenance contract also had a portion that was used for upkeep, and seasonal snow and ice duties. In addition, in 2008 the Federal Highway Administration provided funds from the Federal Gas Tax to the States and the BIA and the State's portion was used for the PBPN benefit. The portion, called Transportation Enhancement that the Kansas Department Of Transportation (KDOT) received, paid for 80% of the $11.2 million crossover interchange at 150 Road & U. S. 75 Highway that services the tribe's casino. Additionally, this funding paid for 85% of a 9,000 foot Bike & Pedestrian Trail that connects the PBPN housing clusters to Prairie Peoples Park where the pow-wow grounds are.
Road and Bridge Department employees are committed to making the reservation a better place through their continued dedication to road preservation and road system safety. For additional information call (785) 966-2375.