It’s a good thing for our Ask Hutch readers that the quarter-cent sales tax passed.

I don’t think there is a week that goes by without someone concerned about road conditions, whether it is a pothole or something else.

Q: I have seen the sign that shows your vehicle speed as you travel north on Waldron street from 30th towards Dillons. Ever since Dillons went in, the traffic has increased significantly with people speeding on Panarama Drive from 43rd, which turns into Waldron. I think it would be better served to let people know their speed coming from the north! Panarama is narrow enough without the high traffic and excessive speed. What do you think?

Kathy drove me to a new part of town I’ve never seen. I had no idea Waldron turned into Panarama. I've never ventured very fair north of Dillons. It does get narrow. We saw one car cruise by - but we think it was going less than 30 mph.

Somehow, we missed the portable radar speed sign on our journey.

City Engineer Bruce Colle told us not to feel bad. He’s missed it, too.

“These signs are installed periodically to inform drivers of their speed in an effort to slow them down,” Colle said.

Colle said the portable radar speed signs were installed on Waldron a few weeks ago after a concerned citizen alerted a councilwoman.

But regarding speedsters on Waldron - Colle has figures showing traffic speeds aren’t excessive.

He said a traffic study was completed on Waldron, north and south of 37th Avenue in March 2016.

While posted at 30 mph, 85 percent of motorists going north were traveling at 35.6 mph or less. Going south, 85 percent of vehicles were traveling 35.8 mph or less.

The 85th percentile speed is actually determined to be the safest because it is what most traffic is moving at. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials standards - which is what engineers go by in determining the speed limits - show the road is operating at an appropriate level.

The study showed the average daily volume going north was 720 vehicles a day and going south was 854 vehicles a day.

The maximum speed recorded was 52.7 mph. The minimum was 5.5 mph. 

And now, on to the next road question.

Q: Adams Street was recently ground down and overlaid with new asphalt. The majority of the manholes were smooth crossing. But there are several that are 1 or 2 inches below grade. That makes them a pothole. I was hoping that within a reasonable amount of time the ones that were potholes would be repaired because, as I understand it, it is going to be 10 years before this is done again. I would think that part of the bid specs would be all manhole covers would be smooth crossing when the job is complete. Would you please check and see if this is going to be corrected or am I just going to have to avoid this problem for the next 10 years? 

I drive along here all the time, but I have to admit, I don’t pay that much attention. But Kathy and I drove it again, and I do see what you are talking about, but I don’t think we even hit one. Of course, we did miss the portable radar sign completely.

Colle said the Adams mill and resurface program included “adjust manhole” and “water valve” as bid items.

“We try and pave to where there is one-fourth lip of asphalt above the casting itself. In this corridor, all of the castings were brought up to within a half inch from the top of the new asphalt. The ones that are a little low can be caused by several different issues with the street and lid itself.”

Colle said that over time, the asphalt compacts down and this keeps the lids from becoming a high bump.

“Some lids set lower in the casting itself or are beat down over time … which causes a depression that is noticeable when driving over,” he said. “So in summary, some lids may be up to a half inch below the surface of the asphalt, but it is by design that these are a little lower to allow the settling of the asphalt to compact around the casting rather than rise above and cause a pothole around it.”

Here's to smooth driving for another decade.

Kathy Hanks got a phone call from a reader with this question and helped me answer it this week.

Q: Sometimes on a Saturday I see a Purple Wave sign at the Kansas Department of Transportation shop on Hendricks. I was thinking it might have something to do with K-State and people meet there to carpool to a game. What is the “Purple Wave” and why are the signs sometimes out there?

I like your thinking.

However, Kathy called the Kansas Department of Transportation office and Abbie Wisdom-Williams said that Purple Wave is an online auction company.

According to its website, Purple Wave is located in Manhattan, hence the purple theme. It “is the largest no-reserve internet auction firm in the country.” The company is transforming the way sellers reach buyers and specializes in liquidating heavy equipment and vehicles through no-reserve public internet auctions.

Wisdom-Williams said KDOT uses the auction company when they have some extra equipment they want to sell. They put the signs out because they have three buildings and the sign will lead the person who purchased the item to where they need to make their pick-up.