KDOT to install turn signals on highway
Officials seek solutions to prevent traffic accidents on 24-40
The Kansas Department of Transportation is taking steps to prevent future wrecks at the intersection of 155th Street and Kansas Highway 24-40.
Several officials from KDOT said equipment for an extra left-hand turn signal has been ordered, although it will be two to three months before the installation of the turn signal will be complete.
KDOT officials said the extra turn signal is being added to counterbalance against what some think is a dangerous intersection.
"There have been a number of accidents along that intersection," KDOT official Paul Gripka said. "I live in Tonganoxie and I see (the intersection) everyday. We are going to do what we can to prevent those accidents."
KDOT officials have conducted traffic studies at 155th Street and State Avenue and those studies indicated that more than 12,000 motorists a day use the intersection. Since the intersection has been open, there have been 20 traffic accidents that have occurred at or near the intersection, KDOT officials said.
One two-car accident resulted in two victims being transported by medical helicopter to area hospitals. One of the victims filed a lawsuit against some of the responding local agencies. The suit has since been dropped.
Both the Basehor Police Department and the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department have voiced concerns to KDOT in written letters, explaining the critical nature of the intersection.
KDOT responded to the correspondence by acknowledging the problem and indicating changes to the intersection were coming.
Basehor Police Chief Vince Weston said the police department has worked several traffic accidents at the intersection and that numerous Basehor residents have expressed concern.
"The main concern is 155th and State Avenue," Weston said. "The dangers of that intersection is that there is eastbound traffic turning north on 155th Street, crossing west-bound lanes without a guarded arrow."
Some residents have asked the Basehor Police Department to take action on the intersection, but the jurisdiction of the light belongs to the state, Weston said.
Weston said some of the traffic accidents are caused by drivers attempting to go through a yellow light, when they should be trying to brake.
"When that light turns amber, the tendency is not to lock up the brakes and skid through the intersection, but to step on it, and try and make the light," Weston said. "This makes for a dangerous situation. That possibly could be a contributing factor."
After a traffic accident last week at the intersection of 158th and 24-40, KDOT officials said there is a possibility the department will conduct a traffic study at the intersection to determine the feasibility of placing a stoplight there in the future.
The traffic accident occurred when a school bus attempting to turn left on 158th Street collided with an eastbound car. The accident resulted in the death of a 19-year old Lawrence woman.
KDOT officials said that having two stoplights so close together on a highway is rare, but if a stoplight can prevent further traffic accidents at the intersection then it is worth reviewing.