cable barriers

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced this morning that the will proceed with a project to install cable barriers on two sections of K-10.

Deputy Secretary and State Transportation Engineer Jerry Younger, speaking at the Eudora Park and Rec Center, stated that a two mile section of cables will be installed on K-10 stretching from the Church Street to the East 2300 Road interchanges at Eudora and a a mile on either side of the K-7 interchange in Johnson County.

The decision to add the barriers in the two areas of K-10 comes on the recommendation of the K-10 safety committee headed by KDOT District Engineer Clay Adams and Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson.

“It was important that the committee help identify the engineering and social factors that should be considered by KDOT as we make the most appropriate decisions for barrier placement on K-10 and elsewhere in the state. I appreciate the work they’ve done and their input will be important as we move forward,” Younger said.

When asked about the time line for construction of the barriers would begin, Younger stated that the normal time line for KDOT to send a project to bid was 9 months.  Younger added that he hopes that timeline could be sped up for this project but did not want to make any commitments at this time.

“We hope to have actual construction start by late summer 2012,” Younger added.

The project, estimated to cost $800,000, will be funded from the KDOT safety funds.

Mayor Scott Hopson and Deputy Secretary Jerry Younger

“This is a huge step forward,” Mayor Hopson said. “This is more than realistically we thought we could accomplish.  Hopefully, this will save lives. I cannot thank enough all the people involved including Governor Brownback for their assistance on this.”

Younger also said that KDOT will seek to designate the entire length of K-10 as a highway safety corridor.  This action must be done by the state legislature and plans are to proceed with that in the 2012 session which begins in January.  The safety corridor designation provides for more enforcement and increased fines for violations.

Prior to official designation of a safety corridor by the legislature, KDOT is exploring was to add additional law enforcement to K10, including the possibility of providing funding to local law enforcement agencies.

Mother Ali Shutt, along with 2-year-old Courtlynn Shutt

Alison Shutt, mother of 5-year-old Cainan Shutt who was killed in a crossover accident in April, made a brief statement where she thanked all the people include state, county and local officials and citizens who helped support the effort for cable barriers along the highway.

“We would have loved to have seen the whole highway done,” Shutt said. “But we are very happy with the beginning steps of making K-10 safer.”

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(l-r) Misty Thakker, Jodi Jackson, Tina Hopson

Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Four women from Eudora are hoping that they, along with the support of thousands of registered voters, can convince the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Governor to install cable median barriers along K-10 from Lawrence to Kansas City.

Tina Hopson, wife of Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson, Jodi Jackson, the women who created the Facebook page dedicated to getting the cable barriers installed, along with Misty Thakker and Jessica Bateson are working on a petition that they will be circulating throughout the area to be signed and then be presented to KDOT and hopefully the Governor.

The group hopes to keep this issue of cable median barriers on the minds of both KDOT and the Governor. “The more people that sign this petition and keep e-mailing, it will keep the pressure on KDOT to install cable barriers” Hopson said.

Jackson, in response to KDOT’s stance at a press conference last Friday where KDOT secretary Deb Miller stated that cable barriers may not be the best answer for the K-10 corridor, said “We know it’s not going to stop everything (referring to fatality accidents), but it will protect a lot of innocent victims.”

Jackson was one car in front of the accident that claimed the life of 5 year old Cainan Shutt on April 16 and Hopson was one car in front of the accident near De Soto in August 2010 that involved a Lawrence woman crossing the median and colliding with a Fed Ex Truck.

Governor Brownback recently directed KDOT to install rumble strips along K-10 in Douglas County this year as a response to the outcry of Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson and others, about the need for safety improvements on the K-10 Corridor.

“We think (rumble strips) is a really good start” Jackson said. “Any attempt to make K-10 safer is appreciated, but when you have someone with a medical issue, for example, it’s not going to wake them up.”

“This accident hit us all pretty hard knowing all those involved.” Thakker said. “We’ve got to continue to spread the word to other people.”

The four women are asking for those of voting age to make sure they are registered to vote, since only registered voter signatures will count in the petition drive.  The group plans on setting up events in both Douglas and Johnson County to collect as many signatures as possible.

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Eudora News and Informationwww.eudorareporter.com

Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson’s letter to Governor Brownback about safety concerns on K-10 has prompted the Governor to call for action.

In a letter from Governor Brownback to Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller, the Governor cited Hopson’s letter and stated that KDOT begin immediate design of a project to widen the shoulders and add rumble strips along the Douglas County stretch of K-10. The Governor also stated that he wants the construction project completed by this fall.

Governor Brownback said that “While that may not have prevented this crash, it seems like a very important safety improvement.”

The Governor also called for the cable barrier study to be updated “without delay”.  This study was scheduled to be updated during 2012. “Even if a decision is made later to install cable median barriers, it will take longer to accomplish that improvement than it will for this shoulder enhancement. So let’s get that going immediately” Governor Brownback wrote.

The Governor also wants a local group be formed “so they can be included in the discussion of K-10 and provide helpful input in the decision making process.”

Mayor Scott Hopson’s reaction was mixed. “I appreciate the quick response the Governor had to the issue and I’m glad he’s reopening the study.  This is a nice addition to the highway.” Hopson added that “While it may help the situation,  it doesn’t address the problem. Barriers are the answer to the problem, not rumble strips.”

Hopson hopes to form a group of the mayors from the other cities along the K-10 corridor to study the issue.

 

 

 

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