Archive for Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Baldwin Junction to become four-way stop

Intersection has been site of fatal accidents

July 11, 2006


— The Kansas Department of Transportation has notified area officials that the agency will install a four-way stop at a notorious intersection south of Lawrence.

Baldwin Junction, 10 miles south of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 59, is already a two-way stop.

Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman said he received word of the change from KDOT on Monday.

"I typically try to avoid it. Just because of the number of accidents it's definitely something that I'm glad they've studied and warranted a change be made," Dingman said.

The junction of U.S. Highway 59 and U.S. Highway 56 - known as the Baldwin Junction because of the veterinary clinic near there - was the site of a deadly accident on April 29. At the request of a citizen, KDOT engineers were studying the safety of the junction even after a 2004 study declared it to be safe.

Two Spring Hill teens died after the driver pulled out from a stop sign on U.S. 56. Their car collided with a pickup truck that was driving north on U.S. 59, which at the time did not require drivers to stop at the junction.

Residents from the Baldwin area have complained that signs along U.S. 59 blocked the view of drivers trying to cross or turn from U.S. 56.

Dingman said KDOT told him the intersection would be transformed with new signs, rumble strips and warning lights in place before the end of this month.

The four-way stop will be a temporary measure until a new interchange is built there.

A $214.3 million plan is in the works to expand U.S. 59 to a four-lane freeway between Lawrence and Ottawa. Currently, the four-lane road is scheduled to open in Franklin County in 2009 and in Douglas County in 2011.

A KDOT spokesman was reportedly in a meeting this morning and unavailable for comment.


neverwrong 11 years, 2 months ago

This has been a long time coming. It will back up N/S traffic quite a bit at times but it is needed. If you thought a lot of cops patrolled 59 HWY now, wait until they start their sting for people running the lights.

Mike Blur 11 years, 2 months ago

It's gonna be a four-way stop, neverwrong. There'll be no lights for people to run. Although, they'll probably be running/rolling through the stop signs.

Centrist 11 years, 2 months ago

A good move, although I hate 4-way stops.

lawrencechick 11 years, 2 months ago

I have a feeling this will double the fatalities at that location. A four way stop is crazy on a 55 mph road! It needs to be a traffic light with with the red light warning flashers some distance away. It won't be long before you'll read "Semi plows into 4 cars at stop sign."

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 2 months ago

It'll still be dangerous, but this is better.

Steve Jacob 11 years, 2 months ago

I am sure they will have "Stop ahead" signs, but who reads them? You just will not have alot of warning south bound with that road.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

A lot of highways that have four-way stops on them also have speed bumps on the road ahead of the stop, so that even if you don't notice the "stop ahead" sign, you know something's coming up that you need to slow down for. Maybe that's an option.

Although if you can't notice one of those big "stop ahead" signs, what other signs are you missing on the road?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 2 months ago

Actually, a roundabout would be the perfect solution to this intersection, but given the freeway they are about to build a few hundred yards away, they won't go to that expense.

staff04 11 years, 2 months ago

Would this be necessary if they enforced the decreased speed limit in that intersection?

Jeff Goodrick 11 years, 2 months ago

I don't think a 4 way stop will help, but a large roundabout like the one at K 7 and K 68 only a little larger.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

Well, the fear is that they WON'T enforce it. They don't enforce the speed limit that's there now.

You know, a lot of highways anymore have those speed bumps (actually, they're grooves in the pavement), along the shoulder. They make a noise when you drive over them, and make the driver aware that something is coming up. In the case of having them on the shoulder of the road, I've read that this is to alert those drivers who may have nodded off while driving, possibly wake them up enough to avert an accident.

I think speed bumps and a four-way stop are good ideas. How long does it take to stop your car and then go on? Not very long. Surely everyone can do that. I'm sure you won't even notice that it took you five more seconds to get to wherever you were headed.

Jillster 11 years, 2 months ago

I'm sure they do enforce the decreased speed limit at that intersection as much as they possibly can, but there can't be an officer at that intersection 24/7 to make sure that everyone always slows down. If people are still getting injured or killed at that intersection, it's a clue that the decreased speed limit isn't working.

fletch 11 years, 2 months ago

'Bout freaking time

And trust me, truckers are smart enough to see a stop sign and stop. Assuming it's like any other 4 way stop on a highway in the state, there will be a nice sign that says "4 Way Stop Ahead - Decrease Speed" a hundred yards prior. Plus, I have a suspicion that all those county cops are going to have a field day nailing people for rolling those stop signs the first few months.

staff04 11 years, 2 months ago

I didn't know that they had changed bad.

That will be a pain in the butt when the afternoon shift at Wal-Mart in Ottawa lets out...

Until they build the new road, of course.

reginafliangie 11 years, 2 months ago

What about a warning signal like the one at clinton parkway and I think it's Lowell (the one right after you pass Hyvee)? There is a sign, (because of the hill) that warn drivers what color the light is over the hill. Something like that might work, like warning traffic that a stop sign is coming and visability is bad.

Sigmund 11 years, 2 months ago

A four way stop is a great idea. Nothing can prevent all accidents but this is a sensible response considering all the fatalities there. A roundabout large enough to handle tractor trailers traffic would be very expensive.

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

I am willing to put my money on lawrencechick's prediction. Fletch it has nothing to do with "being smart", that interesection has to do with no paying attention. While a stop sign will cut back on one type of accident, it will ultimately trade for another type of accident. People will assume (and really they should be able to) that the cross traffic will stop as well; a false sense of security.

Time will tell and I truly hope to be wrong.

lawrencephilosopher 11 years, 2 months ago

A four way stop on a 55MPH road is a death sentence.................D!#@M IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!

displacedsunflower 11 years, 2 months ago

I travelled on both 56 & 59 many, many times over the years and always cringed when I had to go thru that intersection, especially on 56, as there is such a short sight-distance there. The 4-ways stop should help considerably, altho I think that a large roundabout (in New England it is called a rotary & here in Louisiana it is a traffic circle) would be good, also. My hope is that the speed will be lowered to 45 soon. (I remember when it was lowered several years ago, and was horrified at it.)

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

Pywacket, as I said, I hope to be wrong, but I think your conclusion assumes too much. All it takes is the "red-light runner" mentality and one inattentive driver. In two scenarios now, instead of one, does it take one inattentive driver.

  1. One person stops and gets rear ended by an inattentive driver going 55 mph.

  2. One stops and begins going with the expectation that the other person will follow the rules of the road and stop (this is not inattention!) ; the driver on the cross road violates the stop signal and T-bones the other person. The stop signs should make the T-bone less likely, but you haven't increased the need for inattentiveness from one to two drivers.

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

Displaced, if what I am imagining and what you are suggesting, may I NEVER see a (speed reducing) roundabout in the middle of a 55 mph road. I am imagining a big version of the neighborhood roundabouts. You would be trading SOME 2 car accidents for a LOT of one car-meets-roundabout-head-on accidents; I am thinking of folks not as familiar with the road, driving at night. Is there any talk of lowering the speed limit to 35 or 40 for the 1/4 mile or so before the intersection?

jasonthesane 11 years, 2 months ago

In fact, if you read the article, there will be rumble strips (aka "speed bumps" or "noisy grooves") and warning beacons placed ahead of the new stop signs.

I'm sure every effort will be made to call attention to the new signs.

I think most traffic engineers would agree that a 4-way stop sign is not the best measure to take at this intersection but as a temporary measure it is an effective, cheap solution.

jayhawks71 11 years, 2 months ago

Reality, so..... explain how the situation got to be the way that it is currently, were traffic engineers on strike for the past how many years? Scientists publish their methods, results and conclusions. Can you please point me to the analysis/report that was done here? A solution sans an available report to review reeks of politicians telling engineers COME UP WITH SOMETHING THAT LOOKS GOOD. It isn't the scientists and engineers that I mistrust, it is the people pulling the strings that make the stop signs happen.

DonQ, the appeal to common sense is almost as worthless an argument tool as the claim that you disupute. Common sense... often wrong.... and even if wrong only 10 percent of the time, how do you know when it's wrong? Science.

speedykitty 11 years, 2 months ago

The rumble strip alerts are already there as you approach from the east or west. Just will need them on Hy 59.

I tried on several occasions to get KDOT to reduce the Hy 59 speed back to 45 through the intersection but they inevitably gave me a lot of highway design jargon and why it is better to leave it at 55.

Some of you react like this will be the first 4-way stop on a 55 mph highway in the state. A nuisance, yes, but not a total freakin aggravation like a round about! Those presume a certain "continental courtesy" and except for good defensive driving, I would have been hit in one on more than one occasion. You can't depend on the right of way when you are supposed to have it.

Liberty 11 years, 2 months ago

Putting a stop sign in the middle of a highway is a good way to cause even more accidents. That is the type of stunt the city of Austin Texas did. Many multicar large accidents. They need a bridge so the highways don't intersect directly with on ramps.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

There is a roundabout in the middle of the highway between Ottawa and Paola, and it's a 65 mph road. There have been no accidents at the intersection since it was installed.

But it's a pain in the behind anyway. The warning signs for the roundabout are too damn close to the thing. They should be farther away. And it's a real pain for bigger vehicles, like trucks. Still, it seems to be working.

Once people get used to it being a four-way stop, I don't think there will be any danger of rear-ending someone. Especially if there are rumble strips (thanks, Jason, I didn't know what they were called!). And if you know it's there, you should be slowing down before you even get to the intersection. If you're still going 55, knowing there's a four-way stop ahead, you're an idiot.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 2 months ago

Truckers have to deal with that all across the country. This area isn't the only one to have a four-way stop at the intersection of two highways.

Are you implying that truckers are too stupid to see signs and read them and know what they mean?

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