Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tragedy-tainted U.S. 59 work finished

November 21, 2007


The repaving of US. Highway 59 south of Lawrence - a project marred by a tragedy - came to an end Monday.

Crews began the project in early September, working from south of the Lawrence city limits to the Franklin County line.

The resurfacing included the application of permanent paving striping, smoothing the highway and filling cracks that could have shortened the life of the pavement, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. To seal the recycled surface, workers coated the pavement with a thin layer of asphalt and installed rumble strips at the intersection of U.S. Highways 56 and 59.

Tragedy struck Sept. 11 when a pickup truck drove through a one-lane restricted work zone past a flagger, then struck and killed two highway workers at the southern edge of Pleasant Grove. The workers were employees with a KDOT contracting company, Dustrol Inc. of El Dorado.

The truck was stopped following a police chase that ended in Osage County. Two women - a mother and daughter - who were in the truck were arrested and charged in Osage County in connection with the chase. Charges were eventually dropped against the daughter, who was a passenger in the truck.

The mother, Ramona Morgan, 48, who prosecutors say was the driver, is in Osage County Jail on $1 million bond. She is charged with fleeing and attempting to elude police. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19 in Lyndon.

Morgan also is charged in Douglas County with two counts of reckless second-degree murder in the deaths of the highway workers. That case will not be handled until the Osage County case is completed.

Work on Highway 59 was suspended for a few days after the incident.

"I know when the project started back up everyone was ready to get out there and get it done," KDOT spokeswoman Kimberly Qualls said. "In this particular incident, there probably wasn't anything additional that could have been done as far as safety."

Qualls said extra safety precautions had been taken at the beginning of the project because of the danger of working on a narrow two-lane highway. Among those precautions was the posting of extra signage.

A new Highway 59 is being built from Ottawa to Lawrence, and sections of the old highway ultimately will revert back to Douglas County control, Qualls said.


LogicMan 10 years, 6 months ago

"To seal the recycled surface, workers coated the pavement with a thin layer of asphalt"

They aren't going to roll it? It is so rough -- must be terrible on tires and for MPG (but good for traction). Also tended to make my car wander side-to-side a bit.

Confrontation 10 years, 6 months ago

Just when I thought there couldn't be a less attractive set of violent women than Ramona and her daughter, I found this article:

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