Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Safety of road near Tonganoxie questioned

August 7, 2008

Those living close to U.S. Highway 24-40 and County Road 1 have seen a recent influx of accidents and say the area has become less safe.

While no one has been critically injured or killed in the recent string of accidents, nearby residents feel it may be inevitable.

"Someone's going to die, it's only a matter of time," said Jason Raw, who lives near the intersection. "I've helped three people in wrecks that I was here and actually heard the crash right behind my house."

The area where the highway meets Kansas Avenue has a long history of traffic accidents, but they seem to be occurring more frequently.

On March 26, a car-hauling truck lost its interior and exterior lights on a curve just before the intersection. The driver was able to walk away from the accident. Two months later, a semi blew out a tire and crashed at the same intersection.

On July 27, the driver of a meat truck left the road and rolled a tractor-trailer. The driver, 34-year-old Wendell Cherryhomes, was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

The next day, another semi rolled at the intersection. Jody Walter, 38, was driving a lumber truck when he lost control and rolled it, scattering lumber across the intersection. He sustained serious injuries and was transported to University of Kansas Hospital.

With construction under way on the I-70 interchange, the area has experienced an increase in traffic.

"It has become a real safety hazard and the public is always in a hurry, it seems," said Dean Oroke, Leavenworth County commissioner. "Some of them want to beat the oncoming traffic."

As construction on the County Road 1 project reaches the highway, engineers plan on having CR-1 intersect with the highway approximately .75 miles south of the current location. There will also be passing lanes and turn lanes added to highway 24/40, easing tension as drivers slow down to exit the roadway or speed up to enter the highway.

The project is currently on schedule and is expected to be finished in late 2009.

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