K-196 is a 28.474-mile-long (45.824 km) east–west state highway in Harvey and Butler Counties in the U.S. state of Kansas. K-196’s western terminus is at Interstate 135 (I-135), U.S. Route 81 (US-81) and K-15 just south of Newton and the eastern terminus is at K-254 just east of El Dorado, Kansas. The highway runs along the south border the town of Whitewater and bypasses Potwin to the south.
K-196 was first established as a state highway on March 29, 1937, and at that time ran from US-81 and K-15 south of Newton to US-54 and US-77 in El Dorado. Then between 1957 and 1968, K-254 was extended along K-196 through El Dorato to US-54 and US-77. The overlap with K-254 was removed on May 6, 1994, and K-196 was truncated to end at K-254 west of El Dorado.
K-196 begins at a diamond interchange with I-135 exit 25, which is co-designated as US-81 and K-15. It begins heading east through rural farmlands as it crosses Jester Creek. About three miles (4.8 km) past here it crosses West Wildcat Creek at South Woodlawn Road. Another two miles (3.2 km) east it crosses Wildcat Creek at Webb Road. About 1.9 miles (3.1 km) east from here, K-196 crosses Gypsum Creek. The highway then passes north of Whitewater Cemetery, crosses U.P. S.Y.S Railroad, then crosses into Butler County. As K-196 enters the county, it passes south of Whitewater, and then curves east-southeastward. It then passes by Brainerd and soon crosses Dry Creek, then Whitewater River about one mile (1.6 km) later. The highway then curves east as it passes south of Potwin. Past Potwin, K-196 curves to a more southeast direction, then crosses Fourmile Creek. Just over 1.5 miles (2.4 km) past Fourmile Creek, it crosses Rock Creek. After another 1.3 miles (2.1 km) it curves south as it passes to the west of Baker Cemetery. After curving south it continues roughly four miles (6.4 km), then curves southeast for one mile (1.6 km) then ends at a diamond interchange with K-254 west of El Dorado, near I-35/Kansas Turnpike.
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) tracks the traffic levels on its highways, and in 2018, they determined that on average the traffic varied from 1430 vehicles near Potwin, 2280 vehicles near the western terminus, to 2380 vehicles near the eastern terminus. K-196 is not included in the National Highway System. The National Highway System is a system of highways important to the nation’s defense, economy, and mobility. K-196 does connect to the National Highway System at each terminus. As of 2017, the portion of the route in Harvey County is paved with partial design bituminous pavement and the portion of the route in Butler County is paved with full design bituminous pavement.