Archive for Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Traffic jam

The efforts of Kansas Turnpike and Highway Patrol officials to handle Sunday’s massive traffic jam from Kansas City to Lawrence fell short.

October 5, 2010


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.”


John Kyle 7 years, 7 months ago

What a stupid, whiney article. Were you stuck in the traffic jam? How is KTA supposed to predict an accident? You mention that the speedway, the Royals and the American Royal Bbq all let out at the same time. That is the cause of your traffic jam;not KTA.

Tandava 7 years, 7 months ago

I think it is entirely appropriate that a bunch of idiots who went to watch race cars zoom around an oval track -- boring and stupid -- should have to sit in their own cars and go nowhere. Entirely appropriate!

cozy 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe you missed the fact that it was not just people there for the race. Reading comprehension being taught in school -- entirely appropriate!

Mike Wagner 7 years, 7 months ago

Just because you dont enjoy it doesn't mean its "boring and stupid". It must really suck being you!?

somedude20 7 years, 7 months ago

that is why i take acid man cause when i want to take a trip i dont want to deal with traffic

fyrfighter 7 years, 7 months ago

okay Dolph, get down off your soapbox before you hurt yourself. You are right. The KTA purposely is doing the road construction to screw up your day. I went by the speedway before the race, and there was great highway patrol presence. The main problem is thousands of folks trying to get to one place. Get real. This happens all the time at every major function. Is this the first time you were out? As for the road construction, this happens all the time. It is a pain while it happens, but so much better after. Welcome to the real world.

Xwards 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe if there were trains to take people from Topeka and Lawrence to KC this wouldn't have happened.

Stuart Evans 7 years, 7 months ago

I used to have a colleague in Atlanta that spent 3.5 hours every day in traffic to make a 30 mile commute.

notajayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like the L.I.E. (an apt acronym, since calling it an 'expressway' is a bit dishonest). I took a wrong turn going to pick up a friend at the airport one time, and it took 4 hours to get to the next exit and turn around. At least I had time to get out of the car and take the T-tops off to enjoy the weather.

whats_going_on 7 years, 7 months ago

what would they have done, clicked their heels three times and made everyone magically be at home?

When you have three huge events get out at roughly the same time, CLEARLY there's going to be traffic. Seems obvious?

das 7 years, 7 months ago

For some reason I heard and saw Andy Rooney's whiny face and voice when I read this........that's really weird.

terrapin2 7 years, 7 months ago

We were also leaving the Ren Fest at the same time so ad a few thousand more people to the mix. Yes we had to wait, but it wasn't letter to the editor worthy by any means.

John Hamm 7 years, 7 months ago

The Speedway fans get too much preference in exiting. We were caught in one of their fiascoes a few years back. Let 'em all learn how to merge instead of forcing other highways to shut down to let 'em out!

LadyJ 7 years, 7 months ago

Seems to me all the events should have been required to reserve a time slot to let out so drivers from each event would not inconvenience the others and traffic could be better managed. Car accidents should also be required to file for an appropriate accident time. In case you miss it, sarcasm intended.

Betty Bartholomew 7 years, 7 months ago

This is probably compounded by the massive jam the day before as patrons left the races and Ren fest, as more traffic headed in to a concert (the concert forced all festival patrons into one lot instead of spreading them between two). The highway patrol was controlling lights at the T-intersection near the Waffle House, and the people waiting to enter the "bar" to get to the highway were having to wait ten minutes at a stretch, while those already on the bar were given preference. Additionally, our car was at the front of the line, and after a ten-minute wait when they flipped the light green so we could go, they immediately flipped it back - we were halfway through the intersection when it turned red again, then another five or six cars followed behind. I'm surprised there wasn't another wreck.

It's not as if the convergence of events in the area that constitutes the speedway, the amphitheater, and a number of other venues is unusual - it's happened every year since the speedway opened. Authorities should be well practiced at traffic control by now.

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