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Archive for Friday, April 29, 2011

Transportation secretary makes case that cable barriers are no ‘silver bullet,’ but announces meetings to study their effectiveness on K-10

April 29, 2011

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Jerry Younger, the state's transportation engineer, talks to Ali Shutt of Eudora after a press conference in Olathe about safety measures on Kansas Highway 10. Shutt holds her daughter, Courtlynn, who was injured in an April 16 crash on K-10 that killed her brother, Cainan Shutt, 5.

Jerry Younger, the state's transportation engineer, talks to Ali Shutt of Eudora after a press conference in Olathe about safety measures on Kansas Highway 10. Shutt holds her daughter, Courtlynn, who was injured in an April 16 crash on K-10 that killed her brother, Cainan Shutt, 5.

— Kansas Department of Transportation officials told reporters Friday afternoon that cable median barriers on divided highways weren’t a “silver bullet” in stopping all accidents as the state studies the safety of Kansas Highway 10

“Cable barriers are not benign. They don’t solve all the problems and can in some situations create problems,” KDOT Secretary Deb Miller said Friday. “So our deliberations must center on whether they provide more benefits or create more liabilities. The question isn’t: Do we have the money? The question is: Is this the right strategy?”

Miller and state transportation engineer Jerry Younger spoke to the media days after Gov. Sam Brownback directed Miller to reopen a study into the use of cable barriers on K-10 between Lawrence and Kansas City.

Two Eudora residents, 5-year-old Cainan Shutt and 24-year-old Ryan Pittman, died in a crossover crash east of the Church Street interchange, leading Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson to write a letter to Brownback asking the state to immediately install cable median barriers from Lawrence east to Interstate 435 in Johnson County.

Brownback also directed KDOT to expedite a project to be completed this year to widen the shoulders and install rumble strips along K-10 in Douglas County. Those features are already in place in Johnson County.

Ali Shutt, Cainan Shutt’s mother, after the news conference said her family and supporters were thankful for Brownback’s directive but said the state needed to do more than just install rumble strips on K-10. She said cable barriers would help prevent dangerous cross-median accidents that often result in head-on collisions.

“We realize that this still could cause accidents, but it’s going to save the next person on the other side,” Shutt said.

Miller and Younger said cable median barriers have proven to be effective, especially on Missouri highways, but they said generally Kansas fatalities from cross median crashes have been low compared to other states.

Kansas Highway Patrol troopers have said they are still investigating the cause of the April 16 crash, including the possibility that drugs contributed after a preliminary autopsy indicated marijuana, benzodiazepine and methadone were in the system of Pittman who drove the car that struck the westbound minivan Cainan Shutt was riding in.

Miller said KDOT would meet on May 12 with city officials, including from Eudora and Lawrence, to talk about forming a local group to provide input for the cable median study.

Comments

autie 2 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how many fatalities would be avoided if there where no imparied drivers. Drivers who actually payed attention to what they were doing and drove at a prudent speed. How could I ever have had such a ridiculous thought?

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BigPrune 2 years, 11 months ago

What about polyethylene barricades with water ballast ?

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JerryStubbs 2 years, 11 months ago

If you look at Google maps satellite view you can compare the sizes of various area highways and their medians.

I-435 between KCK and KCI airport has a median about twice as wide as K-10's. I guess they didn't allocate as much land for K-10, not to mention that 435 is 3 and 4 lanes per side in that stretch.

K-10 has a fairly narrow median in comparison.

Not good if you pass out, your gas pedal gets stuck, somebody runs you off the road or it's extremely slick and you lose control.

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rodentgirl16 2 years, 11 months ago

Okay, so I don't know a lot about this subject, would it be possible to place a softer version of the cable median barriers to stop the momentum of the car, but not slice motorcycle riders to pieces, or even on one side of the road with an adjacent concrete barrier in the center median? Does anyone have any knowledge of systems like this? There has to be a way to do both, right?

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Jane 2 years, 11 months ago

The thing to remember is that you can't fix STUPID, and you can't keep someone from committing suicide by car crash.

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LJ Whirled 2 years, 11 months ago

If the solution is simple and effective, KDOT would have to explain why it's not already there. Ergo, speak in hyperbole about how nothing stops "ALL" fatalities, then find some way to explain why you failed to design it more safely from the start, cover your backside and slowly but eventually do something, but in a way where it looks like somebody else's fault..

"Gentlemen, we've got to protect our phoney-baloney jobs!"

Harrumph!

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 11 months ago

I don't remember a single case of a motorcycle driving clear into the oncoming lanes of K-10 and colliding head on with a larger vehicle.

But, maybe my memory is either faulty or selective.

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Jane 2 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, survival rates would probably go way down in the motorcyclist vs cables...take care out there!!!

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AreUKiddingMe 2 years, 11 months ago

I have thought about the same 2 questions. 1. I would figure, yes, it would make you flip, but I think I have a higher chance of surviving that than being cut in half. 2. I havnt heard or personally seen them. I was planning on googling that, but havnt had a chance too yet. :)

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Jane 2 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if a sand trap would cause a motorcyclist to flip tail over head? Are sand traps used other than to stop semi-trucks in the mountains?

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windjammer 2 years, 11 months ago

What you say we make it a toll road like the Kansas Turnpike. Then we can put up eight foot concrete walls down the middle to I435. Lower the speed limit to 85mph and force all drivers to drive in the left lane. Also all drivers must be on the mobile from Lawrence to Lenexa.

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blue73harley 2 years, 11 months ago

Anyone of you K10 commuters remember what happened this winter?

A heckuva a lot of cars went off the road in the deep snow. Virually none did a complete crossover. Most were just pulled out and went on their way. What would have happened if cables were there? Lots of sheetmetal would have been shredded. A body shop's dream!

I think AreUKiddingMe's idea of sandtrap or some other soft barrier should be considered. It works with snow.

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Deja Coffin 2 years, 11 months ago

It's a start and everyone who believes in this cause needs to just keep fighting for what they believe in. Also I hope that if anything it empowers us to fight for the causes we believe in because it can make a difference.

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not_holroyd 2 years, 11 months ago

Concrete jersey barriers at grade are far different than cable barriers on a divided highway with a major swale/ditch in between.

And neither one prevents idiots from popping pills & drinking and driving.

Good intentions, emotional pain, political pandering, and journalistic self-congratulations do not create safer highways. Let the engineers take another look at it. We have a good KDOT secretary. One of the few things Brownback has not screwed up. Yet.

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AreUKiddingMe 2 years, 11 months ago

As someone who rides a motorcycle, cable barriers scare the living ..... Out of me. If I have to leave the road because someone doesnt see me, you are going to need 2 body bags for me. So the solution? The bet thing I have come up with is one we already use to help stop out of control semis and racecars.
Sandtraps Put a 12ftish ( i am just kinda throwing out lenghts and depths) wide, 4-5 ft deep strip of sand in the middle of the medium. If it can stop a semi or a racecar.... The only other thing i could come up with ( and my guess is the cost would make it out of the question). Are the new walls NASCAR has used since Dale sr. died

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 11 months ago

Some years ago I talked with a patrol officer assigned to the Kansas Turnpike about how my car was stranded on the turnpike and was no longer running due to a broken timing belt. He remarked that when he had a chance to be assigned to the Kansas Turnpike, he jumped at it, because ever since the median barriers were installed he had just about never had to work a fatal accident. Those bothered him very much, and when he went to work every day before being assigned to the turnpike, he had no idea if or when he would be called to work a fatal accident. Crossovers, well that was usually the reason why.

Those median barriers had pretty much eliminated the problem of fatal accidents on the Kansas Turnpike, although they were very expensive to install along its entire lenght. And he was so glad about that!

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