Leavenworth County residents south of Tonganoxie are growing more concerned with traffic at a nearby intersection.
Those living close to the junction of U.S. Highway 24/40 and County Road 1 have seen a recent increase in accidents that may indicate the area has become less safe. One driver was seriously injured in an accident, and while no one has been killed, nearby residents feel it may be inevitable.
"Someone's going to die, it's only a matter of time. I've helped 3 people in wrecks that I was here and actually heard the crash right behind my house" said Jason Raw, who lives near the intersection.
The area where the two roads meet has a long history of traffic accidents, but they seem to be occurring more frequently.
On March 26 a car hauler lost its interior and exterior lights just before entering the curve on U.S. 24/40. The driver was able to walk away from the accident. Two months later a semitrailer blew out a tire and crashed at the same intersection. On July 27 the driver of a meat truck left the roadway and rolled his trailer. The driver, 34-year-old Wendell Cherryhomes, was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital for treatment. The next day, another semi rolled at the intersection. Jody Walter, 38, was driving the lumber truck and sustained serious injuries. He was transported to Kansas University Hospital.
The area is expected to experience a further increase in traffic, with construction underway on a new interchange on the Kansas Turnpike.
"It has become a real safety hazard and the public is always in a hurry, it seems. Some of them want to beat the oncoming traffic" said Dean Oroke, a Leavenworth County Commissioner.
As construction on the County Road 1 project reaches U.S. 24/40, the intersection will be improved. The new stretch of County Road 1 will intersect the highway approximately three-quarters of a mile south of the current location. There will also be passing lanes and turn lanes added to U.S. 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.