Jerry Younger

Eudora News and

Officials from the Kansas Department of Transportation and several cities along the K-10 corridor gathered in Eudora on Thursday evening to discuss how to improve roadway safety along K-10 between Lawrence and Kansas City.

Representatives from Lawrence, Eudora, De Soto, Overland Park, and Lenexa along with both the Douglas and Johnson County Sheriffs Offices attended the meeting designed to explain KDOT standards and practices for improving roadway safety and to start planning an advisory group to look at cable median barriers along the highway.

Transportation Secretary Deb Miller and Assistant Secretary Jerry Younger gave a presentation laying out all the facts and figures of how decisions are made in regards to cable median barriers and referred extensively to the report KDOT commissioned in 2008 about cable median barriers.  Younger stated at the very outset that “KDOT is not trying to make a point with all the information provided, what we are trying to show is that this is all information that has to be considered in what we decide to do on K-10.”

Younger went on to discuss the methodology and formulas used in determining how KDOT decides what the best options are to improve roadway safety.  Younger also stressed that the decision as to whether to install barriers is not strictly about money but what is the most strategic use of the money available. Younger stated that traffic volumes, median size and the average cost of various types of accidents all factor into the decision.

According to the formula in the report, traffic on K-10 would have to triple to reach the threshold KDOT uses to necessitate cable barriers and the number of accidents would also have to increase.

Officials also talked about how the rumble strip project in Douglas County will likely increase safety along the highway. Rumble strips will be installed later this year from the Douglas County line to Lawrence. Rumble strips have already been installed in the Johnson County section of K-10.

At the end of the meeting, the group agreed to form a Public Advisory Group which will consist of local officials along the K-10 corridor, county and state law enforcement agencies, KDOT officials and a select number of people form the general public. This group will look at the policies KDOT has in place, look at numbers including how many accidents have occurred along the corridor and the number of vehicles that travel the road each day.



KDOT Secretary Deb Miller

Eudora News and

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 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.”