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Archive for Tuesday, August 9, 1994

GIVE THEM THE SIGNAL

August 9, 1994

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City and state engineers are ready to reduce the chances of accidents at two busy intersections.

The green lights at 19th and Iowa aren't safe enough. The signals at 23rd and Ousdahl aren't visible enough.

Tonight, Lawrence city commissioners will consider paying enough -- adding $20,000 to the $40,000 already allocated -- for rebuilding traffic lights at the two intersections along state highways.

The issue is improving safety. Terese Gorman, city engineer, said the estimated $187,000 price tag would pay off by reducing the threat of accidents at both locations.

Specifically, crews will add a protected left-turn signal next spring at 19th and Iowa streets, for northbound traffic turning west onto Kansas University's West Campus at 19th. The road leads to laboratories and KU's performing arts hall, the Lied Center.

The intersection currently has no green arrow for northbound traffic, leaving hundreds of vehicles to take their chances crossing U.S. 59. At last check, in 1991, more than 33,000 vehicles passed through the intersection on Iowa each day.

The Kansas Department of Transportation will finance the majority of both projects, using hazard-elimination grants to improve safety at intersections along state highways.

The intersection's crumbling concrete medians also will be removed, Gorman said, and new pedestrian signals will be installed with newly painted crosswalks.

"It's worth what they're spending," Gorman said. "With KU over there, and all the students, and the Greek houses and those athletic fields on the corner, there's a lot of traffic."

Improvements at 23rd Street and Ousdahl Road will be more cosmetic, said David Woosley, the city's traffic engineer. The intersection's 20-year-old signals will be replaced with lights offering better visibility, including two additional signal heads mounted on new mast arms.

An average of more than 38,000 vehicles passed through the intersection daily in 1991. Nearly 33,000 of those used 23rd, which is Kansas Highway 10.

Tonight, city commissioners will consider paying consultants $21,488 to engineer construction of the new signals for both intersections. The meeting begins at 6:35 p.m. at city hall, Sixth and Massachusetts.

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