The Kansas Turnpike Authority is in the beginning stages of a new project that would establish a scenic outlook along Interstate 35 in the Flint Hills.
The spot would give travelers a chance to stop and appreciate the beauty of the landscape, said Sandy Kramer, director of the Chase County Chamber of Commerce.
"We would hope that this outlook would be an opportunity for people to stop, take a breath and just fully engage in what it is they're seeing," Kramer said.
Though cost estimates and design plans are still unknown at this time, KTA marketing and communications director Rachel Bell said the overlook would be located near milepost 111 in Chase County.
Engineers with the turnpike authority are considering improvements to the on- and off-ramps south of Emporia that serve the area's cattle operations. Owners bring cattle to graze there in the spring and collect them in the fall.
The ramps have not been renovated since being built in the mid-1950s, Bell said, and improvements would allow drivers to pull off the highway and visit the outlook.
If built, the spot would be the first scenic overlook on I-35.
"We have not done any public outreach at this point," Bell said. "But the response that we have received since it broke that we were working on this has been very positive."
Kramer said she's optimistic about the project and what it might bring to the area. She said the Flint Hills are a place where travelers can "unplug and restore their souls" in the tranquil scenery.
More than anything, she said, the Flint Hills aren't just another spot on the map — they're "an experience."
Construction of the overlook is tentatively scheduled for spring 2015, though the project still needs approval from the turnpike authority's board.