Archive for Friday, May 13, 2011

Area officials support K-10 cable barriers at meeting

KDOT visit results in no firm action

Ali Shutt, of Eudora, holds a candle for herself and her son Cainan, as she is surrounded by family and friends as during a candlelight memorial for Cainan Shutt, 5, who was killed in a car accident on K-10 in April. Shutt's daughter Courtlynn Shutt, 2, who was injured in the accident is held by a friend during the memorial. The memorial was held in conjunction with a KDOT and Douglas County meeting in Eudora on safety issues on K-10.

May 13, 2011

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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

Courtlynn “Coco” Shutt, 2, swings next to her mother, Ali Shutt, of Eudora, Thursday outside the Eudora Community Center where area officials were meeting with Kansas Department of Transportation officials to discuss Kansas Highway 10 safety issues between Kansas City and Lawrence. Courtlynn suffered a broken vertebra in a crossover crash on K-10 near Eudora on April 16 that killed her brother, Cainan Shutt, 5. Family and friends held a candlelight memorial for Cainan during the KDOT meeting. See a video of the memorial service at LJWorld.com.

Courtlynn “Coco” Shutt, 2, swings next to her mother, Ali Shutt, of Eudora, Thursday outside the Eudora Community Center where area officials were meeting with Kansas Department of Transportation officials to discuss Kansas Highway 10 safety issues between Kansas City and Lawrence. Courtlynn suffered a broken vertebra in a crossover crash on K-10 near Eudora on April 16 that killed her brother, Cainan Shutt, 5. Family and friends held a candlelight memorial for Cainan during the KDOT meeting. See a video of the memorial service at LJWorld.com.

Kansas Department of Transportation engineer Jerry Younger, center, discusses accident studies on K-10 between Lawrence and Kansas City during a meeting in Eudora Thursday with local city and county officials about safety issues on the highway. Recently Gov. Sam Brownback directed KDOT Secretary Deb Miller, right, to reopen a study into the use of cable barriers on K-10 between Lawrence and Kansas City. Two Eudora residents died in a crossover accident April 16.

Kansas Department of Transportation engineer Jerry Younger, center, discusses accident studies on K-10 between Lawrence and Kansas City during a meeting in Eudora Thursday with local city and county officials about safety issues on the highway. Recently Gov. Sam Brownback directed KDOT Secretary Deb Miller, right, to reopen a study into the use of cable barriers on K-10 between Lawrence and Kansas City. Two Eudora residents died in a crossover accident April 16.

— The Kansas Department of Transportation’s secretary Thursday promised to work with area leaders to get input in the study of the safety of Kansas Highway 10 in the wake of last month’s double fatality near Eudora’s Church Street interchange.

“I think working with a group of local officials, advised by law enforcement, adding in some citizens, it’s just a helpful way, I think, to make a decision,” KDOT Secretary Deb Miller said after a Thursday meeting with officials from Eudora, Lawrence, Douglas County and other cities.

After a 90-minute meeting, Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson said he would invite city officials along K-10, including from Lawrence and De Soto, to have one person participate in an advisory group to KDOT as it studies whether to install cable median barriers from Lawrence east to Interstate 435 in Johnson County.

Gov. Sam Brownback — after receiving a letter from Hopson last month — directed Miller to reopen a 2008 study in which KDOT concluded cable median barriers weren’t yet warranted on K-10.

“I would like to see the cable barrier installed or some type of barrier,” Hopson said. “I also asked that the information from a previous study be updated. We want to mainly get all of the information we can.”

KDOT leaders did say during the meeting they expected to finish by the end of the year a project to widen the shoulders and add rumble strips to K-10 in Douglas County, although proponents of the cable barriers have said they want more. They also said the process is moving too slowly.

Outside Thursday’s meeting, about 70 people participated in a candlelight vigil for 5-year-old Cainan Shutt who died in the April 16 crash. An eastbound Toyota Camry driven by 24-year-old Ryan Pittman of Eudora crossed over the median and collided head-on with the minivan Cainan was riding in with his grandparents and 2-year-old sister, Courtlynn, who was also injured.

Kansas Highway Patrol troopers have said drug use and inattention by Pittman, who also died, contributed to the crash, the second cross-median crash along the stretch since August.

As Hopson, Miller and deputy KDOT secretary Jerry Younger spoke to reporters in a gazebo after the meeting at the Eudora Community Center, Cainan’s mother, Ali Shutt, at one point made a tearful plea to Miller and said the process was dragging on.

“What’s the number? If we’re waiting for a number of people to die before we make the highways safe, what else do we need to do?” Shutt said later. “This to me was what we’ve already heard, and it was not enough.”

Thursday’s meeting included city and county officials from along the corridor, including Lawrence public works Director Chuck Soules, Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug, Sheriff Ken McGovern, Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman and county engineer Keith Browning.

Miller and Younger said Thursday the stretch of K-10 has had 11 fatalities resulting from 10 cross-median crashes since 2000, compared statewide with 104 fatalities from 89 cross-median crashes on four-lane highways. They have also said the state must consider the number of accidents that could occur with vehicles crashing into a cable barrier that otherwise would not have happened because drivers could correct their paths in the 60-foot-wide median.

But some area officials at the meeting said KDOT needed to take a closer look at the issue and the numbers. Hopson, Eudora’s mayor, was worried the highway might have become more dangerous since the 2008 study because there were two fatality cross-median crashes since August.

“No one around this table has the answer,” Hopson said. “It’s going to take all of us to figure this out.”

Comments

sallyone 4 years, 3 months ago

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

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

"vehicles crashing into a cable barrier that otherwise would not have happened"

If you drive off the road, you are very likely to wreck your car. That is reality.

Randy Leonard 4 years, 3 months ago

If you drive off the roadway into a median like the one on K-10 you are very likely to recover without injury or serious damage unless you are driving impaired. If you drive off the roadway into a median with a cable barrier you will wreck your car. The accident and fatality rate for many intersections is much higher than the crossover accident and fatality rate on K-10. There is only a limited amount of money to spend to improve these situations. Does it not make more sense to spend that money in locations where the fatality rate is higher?

John Hamm 4 years, 3 months ago

Blah, blah, blah, blah. We don't "drive" anymore so you need to do something else to protect us from ourselves...... Idiot Americans.

Kontum1972 4 years, 3 months ago

folks its is not the roads..it is the people behind the wheel.....excessive SPEED! i have driven K-10 and it is really scary...people drive like they are on fire....i instructed my son to not drive down K-10 anymore..find an alternate route to reach KC..like going down State

Kristine Bailey 4 years, 3 months ago

I would like to know if the 5 year old's fatality was related to his booster seat's performance.

ksarmychick 4 years, 3 months ago

There is a very very good chance this was the case. Especially since looking at the van after the accident it really only suffered front end damage. The passenger compartment where the boy would have been seated did not suffer any damage.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 3 months ago

My father used to say that the problem is not the car,road, or weather but the "nut" behind the wheel. His wisdom is very salient in this discussion. In our "modern" (what's that??) society where people feel the irresistable urge to be constantly occupied, busy, involved, whatever, people become stressed, over-tired, reckless (trying to eat, drive and put on makeup at the same time) hurried and this can only lead to disaster. Obnoxious commercial media is constantly harping on how you can buy their crap and cram more into your daily routine. Faster, easier, and more "efficient" pervades the social environment and in many cases, those who can "do it" quicker, better and easier" are the ones that keep their jobs when the layoffs start. So it is not at all hard to understand that the number of risky and dangerous drivers are increasing, the people who think chemical stimulants will enhance their ability to stretch themselves to greater lengths. The chain barriers are very problematic at best, and will probably not prevent such horrible accidents as we are seeing today. And human nature, being what it is, the desire to out perform everyone else while placing themselves and everyone around them in serious danger will continue to cause disaster and mayhem in our society. Our only defense against these persons is to be more aware and prepared to avoid their acts of stupidity and carelessness.

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