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Archive for Monday, April 25, 2011

Brownback wants KDOT to reopen study of installing cable barriers along K-10 from Lawrence to I-435

Bo Hopson hammers crosses into the ground Saturday, April 23, 2011, on the north side of Kansas Highway 10 just east of Church Street in Eudora, where a double fatality accident happened last week. Hopson, son of Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson, said the crosses were being set up to bring awareness to to the need for median cable barriers along the highway.

Bo Hopson hammers crosses into the ground Saturday, April 23, 2011, on the north side of Kansas Highway 10 just east of Church Street in Eudora, where a double fatality accident happened last week. Hopson, son of Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson, said the crosses were being set up to bring awareness to to the need for median cable barriers along the highway.

April 25, 2011, 3:17 p.m. Updated April 25, 2011, 5:44 p.m.

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Fatality accident on K-10 diverts traffic

A fatality accident left two dead and three seriously injured Saturday afternoon. The accident on K-10 near Eudora caused traffic to be rerouted through the town. Enlarge video

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has ordered the Kansas Department of Transportation to immediately reopen its study of cable barriers along Kansas Highway 10 in the wake of an April 16 double fatality crash.

Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson wrote a letter to Brownback last week asking him to direct KDOT to immediately install cable barriers along the divided highway from Lawrence east to Interstate 435.

“We’re pushing for cables, and we plan to keep this going,” said Ali Shutt, mother of 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, who was killed in the recent crash. “We’re very happy that at least we’ve gotten this.”

In his letter to KDOT Secretary Deb Miller, Brownback ordered her department to immediately begin designing the project to widen shoulders and add rumble strips along the Douglas County stretch of K-10, which has been done in Johnson County.

“While that may not have prevented this crash, it seems like a very important safety improvement. Please immediately begin designing these improvements so that the construction project can be completed by fall,” Brownback wrote in his letter sent to the media by KDOT on Monday. “Even if a decision is made later to install cable median barriers, it will take longer to accomplish that improvement than it will for this shoulder enhancement. So let’s get that going immediately.”

Cainan, a Eudora preschooler, and 24-year-old Ryan M. Pittman, both of Eudora, died in the crash when Pittman’s eastbound Toyota Camry crossed the grassy median near the Church Street interchange into the westbound lanes and struck a minivan driven by Cainan’s step-grandfather, Danny Basel.

Cainan’s sister, 23-month-old Courtlyn Shutt, is recovering from a broken vertebra, but she was released from Children’s Mercy hospital last week. His grandmother, Ann Basel, is also recovering from broken bones and a head injury at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., family members said. The Basels are city of Lawrence public works employees.

Kansas Highway Patrol troopers said they are still investigating the cause of the crash, including the possibility that drugs contributed after a preliminary autopsy indicated marijuana, benzodiazepine and methadone were in Pittman’s system.

It was the third wrong-way fatality crash on K-10 since August. A groundswell of support has developed in the wake of the April 16 crash, including a Facebook page started by Jodi Jackson, a Eudora resident who commutes on K-10 daily, urging the state to install cable barriers in the median.

More than 3,500 people had clicked “like” on the page through Monday, and Ali Shutt said leaders of the effort were also asking people to post “Cables for Cainan” on KDOT’s Facebook page.

In his letter, Brownback also ordered Miller “without delay” to immediately begin an update on the 2008 study on cable barriers “on this section of K-10.” KDOT was set to re-open the study in 2012, officials said last week.

The 2008 study was based on traffic and accident counts and the width of medians. But for cable barrier installations, KDOT selected a 1-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 75 in Topeka and a 4-mile section of Kansas Highway 96 in Sedgwick County.

Brownback also said Miller should contact Hopson about his concerns and to form a local group that can be included in the discussion of K-10 and “provide helpful input in the decision-making process.”

Hopson, who is a journeyman lineman for Kansas City Power and Light, was in Bridgeton, Mo., Monday helping repair tornado damage.

He said was happy with Brownback’s response and that the effort seemed to be moving forward. But he said he didn’t want the improvements to stop with rumble strips in the median because he said there still wouldn’t be anything to impede a vehicle from crossing into the wrong lanes in certain circumstances, such as if a driver had a seizure or swerved to avoid a deer.

“I appreciate them doing that, but I don’t think that one part addresses the need for the barrier,” Hopson said.

The governor in his letter said the local committee could review the KDOT analysis and provide input on whether cable barriers should be recommended.

Hopson has already asked mayors of cities along K-10 to join him in the effort, and Lawrence city commissioners at their meeting Tuesday will consider authorizing Mayor Aron Cromwell to sign a letter of support. Cromwell said last week he would like to see some type of barrier in K-10’s median.

Comments

Ralph Reed 3 years, 8 months ago

Finally, he's done something with which I agree.

perryproud 3 years, 8 months ago

there was another crossover accident just now.

afraidnot 3 years, 8 months ago

Saw that accident yesterday. It wasn't actually a cross-over, but was just a few feet away from becoming one before the car got stopped.

jayrat 3 years, 8 months ago

So what were the results from the 2008 study? Obviously the study did not find the cables necessary, or it would have recommended the be installed. LJWorld, I would be curious to know more about this. It seems like there are multiple accidents and deaths along K-10 every year. There had better be a compelling reason for not installing them, because if it came down to money, I'm going to be upset.

Personally speaking, I would think a cable would be a benefit. I've been driving on K-10 when a car lost control coming from the opposite direction and headed towards me, but thankfully they regained some control and kept the car within the median. But I'm no expert and if there is a better solution, I'm all for it.

If memory serves, Missouri installed these cables along I-70. If it's good enough for Mizzou, why not us?

Come on, LJWorld, rake that muck!

DillonBarnes 3 years, 8 months ago

As another story reported, KDOT uses size of the median and amount of traffic to make this determination. They said they review the data every 3 years (correct me if I'm wrong) to decide. Hopefully they'll include number of crossover accidents in that consideration as well.

seekthetruth 3 years, 8 months ago

Here's what was said about the study on the KDOT website: With that in mind, we asked Dr. Dean Sicking, a University of Nebraska researcher and one of the world’s leading experts on roadside safety, to do a comprehensive study of our roads, crash histories, traffic volumes and more. From that months-long study, Dr. Sicking developed a policy for use of cable median barriers in our state. He came up with guidelines for installing barriers where they would potentially do the most good within the limited resources KDOT, and all government agencies, must operate.

Note that it states WITHIN LIMITED RESOURCES! It doesn't say that cables weren't found to be needed on K-10.

seekthetruth 3 years, 7 months ago

The report said that due to accidents, traffic and financial restraints he recommended only installing cable barriers only in Wichita and North of Topeka. You can see the report if you go to "Kansas Depart of Transportation"or "Support the K-10 Crossover Effort" on facebook. Boy... to think Cainan and Ryan are gone because of financial reasons is upsetting!!

emceelean 3 years, 7 months ago

This might be an acerbic suggestion, but Ryan may have died regardless of a cabled median; he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

Brownback will back out of this plan once he sees the cost of this project. For the moment it is good PR.

So I say mow very little ever again and let the hedge row begin to grow. It will be far more beautiful and equally effective not mention much lighter on our wallets.

Then bring on the traffic control team aka K-10 Troopers designated to K-10. Hire about 20 new K-10 traffic controllers and let's put food on the table for 20 families.

imastinker 3 years, 8 months ago

I wouldn't think so. Deer have no problem jumping farm fences, and this type of barrier is mot much different except for cable and post size.

llama726 3 years, 8 months ago

Deer are easier for a driver to see in a cut median than a tall hedge, and may be more inclined to sit in an area with taller grasses and hedges.

riverdrifter 3 years, 8 months ago

Deer can clear 7'+ so they'd clear a short cable fence without breaking stride.

formerfarmer 3 years, 8 months ago

I would hate to hit a tree in the median at 70 mph. No crossover accident but a simple slide off would be a fatality.

berreynolds 3 years, 8 months ago

That sounds like a great solution - you let me know when you've figured out mind control.

berreynolds 3 years, 8 months ago

That sounds like a great solution - you let me know when you've figured out mind control.

Curtis Lange 3 years, 8 months ago

That is not the reason there are concrete barriers on the turnpike. Might want to look into it a little more. ;)

independant1 3 years, 8 months ago

Well said I think!

How about quick/temporary measure, drop speed limit and post "High Accident Area" signs. Start enforcement of 55mph until more permanent (cable barrier) measure can be completed.

Kris_H 3 years, 8 months ago

Start enforcing anything, period, on that stretch of road.

seekthetruth 3 years, 7 months ago

That is a GREAT IDEA. But they aren't out enforcing the speed limit enough now. Maybe they could do both!!!

nut_case 3 years, 8 months ago

oletimer - How dare you attempt to use logic and reason when we're in a full on 'Somebody needs to do something at any cost!!' frenzy.

seekthetruth 3 years, 7 months ago

Cainan couldn't protect himself thank-you very much oletimer!!!

walkthehawk 3 years, 8 months ago

well done, local advocates (including/especially the city of Eudora for getting the ball rolling), and thank you, Gov. Brownback. Cables for Cainan . . . keeping all those who have died in our thoughts.

chrac8 3 years, 8 months ago

it is so sad that it took a little boy to get this done. so sad that at young man just engaged; learning a trade; with his dog in his car; to get this done...but i guess they didn't die in vein...if their deaths brought in fore front how horrible that median has hurt so many people, and how dangerous that highway can be...then their sinceless deaths were for something. two families grieving for their two sons, a little girl that lost a big brother, and a grandmother that is still in the hospital trying to recover...Cables for Cainan...so sad it took that to make the Governor and KDOT to see that something needs to be done. So SAD!!!!

emceelean 3 years, 8 months ago

The "young man just engaged" would've likely been killed by a cable barrier. He wasn't wearing a seat-belt.

tanaumaga 3 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

emceelean 3 years, 8 months ago

The size of the median has afforded innumerable opportunities for drivers to regain control of their cars without colliding with anything or anyone else. Cabled medians will prevent crossovers, yes. But every time someone goes into the median, cables will assure that their cars are severely damaged and they risk serious injury.

From jayrat:

"I've been driving on K-10 when a car lost control coming from the opposite direction and headed towards me, but thankfully they regained some control and kept the car within the median."

How many collisions are avoided because of the ample width of the median? We'll likely never know as these cases amount to little more than a frightening ordeal for drivers.

gccs14r 3 years, 8 months ago

I can hardly wait until the cables start slicing motorcyclists in two. I hate crossing MO on the bike.

wtfusa 3 years, 8 months ago

SOUND LOGIC AND REASON IN KANSAS?! THAT"S UNHEARD OF!!! but credit is due where it is deserved. Good decision Gov. Brownback.

Bobo Fleming 3 years, 8 months ago

K-10 from Eudora to KC is like a Nascar track. I drive it a lot and if you set the cruise on 60 every body passes you. If you set it on 70 ( the speed limit) about 3/4 of the cars pass you. The barriers would be a big help. Also SLOW DOWN." I don't think that speed was a problem in the latest accident but its a big problem in a lot of the accidents out there. Save money on gas, save a few lives. So down please.

gccs14r 3 years, 8 months ago

If you're getting passed by 3/4 of the cars when running an indicated 70, check your speedometer against a GPS. I found that my car reads 5 mph fast, such that I have to run an indicated 75 to actually go 70. My wife's car had a similar problem until I upped the tire size one step.

independant1 3 years, 8 months ago

Yup, drop speed limit and post "High Accident Area" signs. Start enforcement of 55mph until more permanent (cable barrier) measure can be completed.

amac 3 years, 8 months ago

thought maybe a reminder is in order that the 24 year old driver was on DRUGS......

tomatogrower 3 years, 8 months ago

The guy was on drugs, but if the cables had been there, it would have protected the family he destroyed, and might have kept him alive.

landon_alger 3 years, 8 months ago

Thought maybe a reminder is in order that we don't know if he was under the influence of drugs. We only know that there were at least detectable levels of marijuana, benzodiazepine, and methadone in his system.

mawils 3 years, 8 months ago

install the cables. don't let another person die from a crossover

emceelean 3 years, 8 months ago

Again, while preventing crossovers, cabled medians may not necessarily prevent fatalities.

ksengineer 3 years, 8 months ago

I think the Governor has handled this exactly right. It is not his place to order the installation of median barriers or other measures on K-10 or any other highway. It is certainly appropriate for him to order the acceleration of the planned shoulder improvements and the re-evaluation of K-10 as a candidate for median barriers.

The recent tragedy is clearly not something that anyone wants to see repeated, but it is the responsibility of KDOT to carefully evaluate all of the factors (including accident history) and make a sound decision for the best interest of the public.

I believe that most traffic safety professionals would agree that even one death on our roadways is too many. Unfortunately, no matter how "safe" we make our highways there will always be accidents due to human error or mechanical malfunction. As engineers we cannot protect people from everything. We must do our best with the available resources to minimize the opportunities for people to make mistakes and to minimize the consequences when they do.

Wide, unobstructed medians and shoulders are normally considered the best way to minimize the consequences of a vehicle departing from the roadway. The vast majority of those drivers who enter the median on K-10 are able to drive home unharmed. If a barrier is placed in the median, every vehicle leaving the roadway will likely be disabled and the driver/passengers injured. The cable systems are not perfect and can fail. They will not completely eliminate the danger of crossover crashes.

I do not envy those at KDOT who will have to carefully weight the costs and benefits of a median barrier along K-10. I do trust that they will set their emotion aside, and make a sound, reasonable decision based on the facts and their engineering judgement.

seekthetruth 3 years, 7 months ago

I would rather have body damage to my car vs no barriers!!

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

"Wide, unobstructed medians and shoulders are normally considered the best way to minimize the consequences of a vehicle departing from the roadway.

The vast majority of those drivers who enter the median on K-10 are able to drive home unharmed.

If a barrier is placed in the median, every vehicle leaving the roadway will likely be disabled and the driver/passengers injured.

The cable systems are not perfect and can fail. They will not completely eliminate the danger of crossover crashes.

The cable systems are not perfect and can fail. They will not completely eliminate the danger of crossover crashes. "

Points to consider

Blessed4x 3 years, 8 months ago

"The vast majority of those drivers who enter the median on K-10 are able to drive home unharmed. "

Until you plant all those trees, though, huh buddy!? Pass me some of what you're smoking Merrill. It must be some good $h!t.

emceelean 3 years, 8 months ago

"Wide, unobstructed medians and shoulders are normally considered the best way to minimize the consequences of a vehicle departing from the roadway. The vast majority of those drivers who enter the median on K-10 are able to drive home unharmed. If a barrier is placed in the median, every vehicle leaving the roadway will likely be disabled and the driver/passengers injured. The cable systems are not perfect and can fail. They will not completely eliminate the danger of crossover crashes. "

This should be required reading. Thank you.

ksengineer 3 years, 8 months ago

On a slightly different note... I think that the efforts of the Eudora community to bring attention to this issue have been extraordinary. I may not agree that barrier cables are the best answer for K-10, but I truly admire all of your work to lobby the governor, legislators, and KDOT to get your message heard. Keep up the good work!

seekthetruth 3 years, 8 months ago

KSengineer: What is your solution?

There is a pretty large area between the K10 lanes. How wide of an unobstructed median is needed?

Once again support Cables for Cainan!

ksengineer 3 years, 8 months ago

seekthetruth, highway designers try to maintain a "clear zone" adjacent to the roadway. The width varies depending primarily on the speed of traffic. The clear zone width is also adjusted for curves and other factors which could contribute to a vehicle leaving the road.

My manual is at the office, but I would expect that the "standard" clear zone width for K-10 is somewhere within the range of 30-40 feet. I believe that the current median width is 50-60 feet. The width of median explains why so many of us have witnessed "close calls" with vehicles entering the median, but very few of us have suffered the tragedy of last week.

I'm not saying that median barriers are not warranted on K-10, only that a comprehensive analysis should be done before that decision is made.

Take a look at KDOT's median barrier study (not specific to K-10): http://www.ksdot.org/PDF_Files/TRP-03-206-08-Final-Revised.pdf

They identified 8,233 crashes (from 2002-2006) involving vehicles entering the median, of those crashes, 525 had vehicles completely crossing the median and 115 of those resulted in a collision with another vehicle. (page 4... actually page 12 of the pdf document)

What the responsible engineer has to determine is at what point does the benefit of the median barrier outweight the cost. This is normally expressed in $$, but that's not the real point. There is a risk of fatality or serious injury associated with cross median collisions. There is also a risk of fatality or serious injury associated with barrier collisions. Let's assume that 7,500 of the 8,233 will impact the barrier. If 5% of those accidents result in serious injury or fatality, we have 375 major accidents. If the number of injury/fatality accidents prevented by barrier is less than 375 then we are doing more harm than good.

seekthetruth 3 years, 7 months ago

Obviously the 50 feet on K-10 isn't enough. And since they can't change it to 70 or 80 feet let's get barriers. Sorry ksengineer but I don't have any use for 2003-2006 crash reports as you refer to above. I am concerned with 2010, 2011 and the future! If barriers are so dangerous and have a HIGH risk of fatality or serious injury then why are they put up at all? No one would approve their use ever if there was much of any percentage of serious injury or death.

One more thing ks engineer: Don't make assumptions because they make an . . . out of you!!!!

ksengineer 3 years, 8 months ago

I should also add that the upcoming shoulder improvements are probably long overdue. I would expect that a siginificant number of the accidents on K-10 are caused by drivers hitting the relatively soft gravel shoulder and overcorrecting. Paving the shoulders and adding rumble strips will probably help many inattentive drivers by giving them that extra reaction time to maintain their position on the driving surface. I don't think these improvements would have helped last Saturday, but they should greatly improve the overall safety of K-10.

Thats_messed_up 3 years, 8 months ago

If Sebelious wouldn't have spent all her time helping Tiller abort babies maybe she would have had time to direct the installation of the barriers.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 3 years, 8 months ago

I rarely respond here but of all the posts I've ever read on ljworld.com, this has to be the silliest. You can't truly believe that....can you? Tell me you're just trying to mess with us???

CloveK 3 years, 8 months ago

Thats_messed_up has been known to troll once or twice.

FieldTested 3 years, 8 months ago

Since this tragedy, I've driven K-10 several times and have been watching for the tail-gating we all know happens. I estimate that 90% of the time, it occurs in the left lane where slower moving traffic does not move out of the way of faster traffic. So there seem to be 2 clear choices that drivers can make that would reduce the danger of driving that stretch of highway.
For comparatively faster traffic, slow down. For comparatively slower traffic (regardless of their actual speed), get out of the left lane. You are part of the problem. The law requires vehicles being overtaken to yield the left lane - there is no exception based on one's speed.

“Traffic driving in the left lane for prolonged periods does cause gridlock and backup, and it really defeats the purpose of having a multilane highway,” said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Edna Buttler. “You should remain in the right lane, if you’re slower traffic. It is a safety issue.. Slower traffic needs to remain right, so the flow of traffic is running smoothly.”

The next time someone is tailgating you on K-10, ask yourself 1) Am I in the left lane? 2) Have I been there too long? Then get out of the way, and watch traffic move more safely.

jesse499 3 years, 8 months ago

If you read the signs the law is your not to be in the left lane at all unless you are passing another car its not so you can set out there and buzz by everybody your to use the left lane to pass and then get back in the right lane got it.

CloveK 3 years, 8 months ago

Right. I don't think FieldTested was saying if your driving fast, get in the left lane. Its more about not passing someone on the right side who is driving driving in the left lane. That's when people start tailgating in the left lane,

Akso, if your driving pretty close to the same speed as the person in front of you, don't pass them if there are faster moving vehicles coming up on the left.

Drivers who sit in the left lane are one of my biggest peeves.

BigPrune 3 years, 8 months ago

Kinda surprised our local atheist contingent isn't out removing those crosses - but perhaps it is because it is in Eudora and NOT Lawrence.

This just proves that Gov. Brownback can get things done. KDOT was going to wait another year for their study (just like a government worker - making up an excuse to get out of work)

CountyResident 3 years, 8 months ago

Make it a turnpike and add the needed safety requirements, including an additional lane if needed to handle the traffic volume. Charge an appropriate fee to pay for all the improvements.

Kontum1972 3 years, 8 months ago

try lowering the speed limit to 55 and enforce it with super high fines....1,000.00 would be a good start..repeat offenders lose the use of their vehicle for 3 months...if u are repeat offender u lose your vehicle permanently along with your DL...

james bush 3 years, 8 months ago

Couldn't the Gov just tell KDOT what he'd like them to do without publizing his "concern" with a letter he told someone else to write.........this is just plain politicking!

Is he going to write a letter every time someone is killed in a traffic accident? Or injured?

CloveK 3 years, 8 months ago

No, he isn't going to write a letter every time. While it certainly doesn't hurt his PR at least it shows he is listening to citizens of Kansas (for once).

jesse499 3 years, 8 months ago

I feel very bad about these deaths first off. But to stop it you could help by getting smarter. Get off your cell phones, don't read books while your driving,or grade papers,drive in the right lane except when pasing like the law says, and try slowing down 20 mph so your driving the limit . I've seen all of this while driving on K -10 and you blame it on the road well its not all the roads fault in this case it was drugs get smarter about what you do that wold help to.

CloveK 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree about the distractions and aggressive driving (or just plain bad driving), but that is not going to stop all of it. Some times things happen, be it a sudden health condition, tire blow out or a sudden change in the weather. Sometimes there is not a whole lot you can do and even when you do everything correct, it doesn't guarantee that the other driver is.

I could have lost my father in a cross over when he hydro plained into the median on k10. Thankfully he came up six inches short from entering the other lane. When I take that into consideration and think about having a wire barrier... That time the grass median was enough, but still too close. I'd rather have a torn up car then coming that close again,

gccs14r 3 years, 8 months ago

How about berming the area between the lanes? Build up the median so that it is enough higher than the roadway to redirect errant vehicles back the way they came. That would also permit greater use of high beam lights at night without blinding oncoming traffic.

jesse499 3 years, 8 months ago

Just blind the ones your behind huh!!!

JerryStubbs 3 years, 8 months ago

I guess it's probably good that K-10 doesn't really have that much heavy truck traffic. Maybe that has something to do with the state's priorities.

What I think is really bad about this accident is that it happened in pretty good weather and probably pretty light traffic flow. There's usually so much space available to provide buffer in between cars that safety shouldn't be a problem.

There is a ramp that enters from the right just about the area where the accident occurred. I wonder if there was any traffic entering the highway near where the eastbound 23 yo driver left the road.

jayhawklawrence 3 years, 8 months ago

I hate to rain on a party but the State is in the process of closing down a care center for people who are severely handicapped. Most of them cannot even speak. This is to save money.

If we do fund this cable divider for the purpose of keeping reckless drivers and drunks from killing us on K10, the contracts go to the Prime Contractors and their sub contractors to build this. This is how billions of dollars are transferred to the good ole boy network that feeds at the trough like pigs suckling their mother; the State and Federal Highway Departments.

Why is this cable more important them helping those who have no way of helping themselves?

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