Ali Shutt

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Governor Sam Brownback on Friday announced the road construction and repair projects for Northeast Kansas for the next few years. Among the biggest attention grabber of the programs announced, was the completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway from Iowa Street east to K-10.

“We are going to finish the South Lawrence Trafficway,” Brownback said.  “It will get done. We are going to do this.”

The SLT project is now projected to cost $192 million and could possibly become a toll road.

KDOT Secretary Deb Miller stated that KDOT is working on a way to allow local traffic on the SLT at no cost and have either an entry or exit toll booth where the SLT meets I-70 and possibly at the other end where the SLT would meet K-10.

“We will be studying the feasibility of a toll road as we go through the design phases of the project” Miller said.

We asked if there would be a separate toll gate on the SLT prior to reaching I-70 (where the turnpike toll gates are) Miller said that they would try to work with the KTA and see if  the possibility of tying into the Turnpike toll system would be available. “If we do add a toll system, we will make sure there is an easy to use electronic system for tolling.”

Other projects announced on Friday include improvements at the I-70 and K-7 interchange in Wyandotte County, an additional exit on I-35 between Gardner and Edgerton to facilitate the new intermodal facility near the location and a major improvement project from the 435/35/K-10 interchange in Johnson County.

Ali Shutt and Gov. Brownback

Also in attendance at the Governor’s press conference on Friday was Ali Shutt, the mother of 5 year old Cainan Shutt who was killed in the crossover accident on K-10 near the Church Street exit back in April.

Shutt was able to speak to the Governor for a few minutes to plead her case for cable barriers on the K-10 corridor.

“He (referring to the Governor) was compassionate about the accident and told me that he is really working on the barrier issue” Shutt said. “I was impressed that he was well aware of the situation and wanted to get something done on K-10.”

Share

Photo courtesy Jodi Jackson

Eudora News and Information www.eudorareporter.com

While officials met inside the Eudora Rec Center to discuss if cable median barriers should be installed on K-10, a group estimated between 50 and 70 people gathered outside to hold a candlelight vigil in support of the cause.

The group was led by Ali and Thomas Shutt, parents of Cainan Shutt, the 5-year-old boy killed in a crossover accident on K-10 in April.

Ali Shutt, expressed her unhappiness with her perceived lack of substantive results from the meeting.

“Dragging this out for months on end is unacceptable” Shutt said. “We don’t have the time. People’s lives are at risk out there. My son died on a dangerous highway and they don’t care to fix it now. They want to wait and drag it out and that is not acceptable.”

Shutt stated she and others plan on being at every meeting in the future to keep pushing for cable barriers along the K-10 corridor. “Time is not going to stop us.”

 

 

Share

KDOT Secretary Deb Miller

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller met with the media Friday afternoon to address the topic of cable median barriers and Governor Brownback’s letter that he sent last week.

Miller explained that KDOT will follow the directives that the Governor stated in his letter. KDOT will begin construction this summer on the Douglas County section of K-10 and make 10 foot wide shoulders on the outside and six foot shoulders on the inside portions of the highway with rumble strips.  This project, per the Governor’s request, should be completed by the end of fall.  Currently, the Johnson County section of K-10 is designed in this manner. This widening will add 3 feet to the median side of K-10.

Miller also announced the story that Eudorareporter.com broke Thursday night, about the meeting of several city and county officials which will take place on May 12th in Eudora. She also stated that the study of cable barriers that was planned for 2012 will begin this year, as the Governor also directed. No time frame was given as to when the study will take place.

Miller went on to add a point, in her words, that she wanted to make perfectly clear. “Cable barriers are not benign.  They don’t solve all the problems and can, in some situations, create problems.” Miller added “Our deliberations must center on whether they provide more benefits or create more liabilities.”

Miller also stated, “The question about this issue was not do we have the money, it’s, is this the right strategy?”

State Transportation Engineer Jerry Younger followed Secretary Miller and spoke at length how the study of cable barriers in 2008, showed that cable barriers were not appropriate at that time, according to experts involved in the study. “Cable median barriers are not a silver bullet.  There will be more crashes, more injuries and more damage.”  Younger added that “Cable median barriers were not designed to stop a large truck and there is a large concern to motorcycle riders.”

Ali Shutt, mother of Cainan Shutt who was killed in the accident on April 16 on K-10, was in attendance at the press conference and was not happy with what the Secretary had to say.  “We realize that a cable median is not going to save every wreck.  We want the cables to protect the family on the other side of the highway” Shutt said.

“We realize that it could still cause accidents, but it’s the other person on the other side that should be safe. It doesn’t mean the person who’s leaving an Easter egg hunt should be killed either.”

 

 

Share