Granted, it was an unusual circumstance, but Kansas Turnpike Authority officials, as well as the Kansas Highway Patrol, dropped the ball late Sunday afternoon.
Thousands of motorists were caught in a massive traffic jam between the intersection of Interstate 435 and Interstate 70 in Wyandotte County and the West Lawrence turnpike interchange.
It was not a good scene with little if any warning about the mess and few, if any, highway patrol troopers to oversee the situation. It was a bad introduction to Kansas for out-of-state motorists who thought “the turnpike” would be a quick, safe, easy and convenient way to get into eastern Kansas.
Motorists exiting the Kansas Speedway after Sunday’s race, motorists traveling to Kansas following the Kansas City Royals baseball game and motorists leaving the world’s largest barbecue at the American Royal all converged on I-70 and the Kansas Turnpike. A wreck east of Lawrence and the lengthy one-lane turnpike bottleneck from the service area east through highway and bridge construction projects all contributed to the mess.
Hopefully, highway officials learned something from this mess. It is fortunate there were not multiple cases of “road rage” that could have had serious consequences.
Motorists paid a hefty price for the “ease and convenience” of the turnpike, and, in this case, they ended up paying a hefty price for a long, unexpected traffic jam.
KTA officials usually do a good job, but, in this case, they flunked “traffic control 101.”