Officials pushing for lower speed limit on Highway 24/40
The Basehor-Linwood School District and the Leavenworth County Commission are taking the first steps in an attempt to lower the speed limit on U.S. Highway 24-40 as it passes through Basehor.
Leavenworth County commissioners last week said tentatively that they would join the school district in asking the Kansas Department of Transportation to study the possibility of lowering the speed limit on 24/40 within the Basehor city limits.
After several accidents occurred near 158th Street and 24-40 since the beginning of the school year, Basehor-Linwood Superintendent David Howard said at the Sept. 13 school board meeting that he planned to draft a letter to KDOT asking about lowering the speed limit. He wants the speed reduced to 55 mph from the current 65 mph, hoping KDOT would respond if enough government bodies raised the issue.
“There’s power in numbers, and power in government entities,” Howard said.
Howard also asked County Commissioner John Flower about the issue. Flower then brought the issue before the other commissioners at the Sept. 16 commission meeting, asking if the other two commissioners would be willing to write KDOT asking for the limit to be lowered.
County engineer Mike Spickelmier told the commissioners that a simple request for KDOT to lower the speed limit would probably have little effect, because KDOT generally requires evidence from an engineering study before it lowers speed limits on state highways.
Commissioner J. C. Tellefson also said the commission would need to be cautious about just what sort of request it made of KDOT.
“I think it falls on deaf ears at KDOT if we send a letter saying, ‘Please lower the speed limit,’ and we have not provided any engineering study,” Tellefson said.
Instead, the commissioners decided to ask Spickelmier to consult with the school district and ask KDOT to conduct a study on the highway investigating the speed limit. Tellefson said the county commission could possibly help fund a study.
Basehor city administrator Mark Loughry said at Monday’s City Council meeting that KDOT did conduct a study on the highway earlier this year and determined the speed did not need to be lowered. But since then, Loughry said, three accidents have occurred on the highway near 158th Street.