A panel studying the safety of Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence will ask the state to install two stretches of cable-median barriers near Eudora and De Soto and farther east in Johnson County, two committee members told the Journal-World Tuesday.
“All we can do is get the facts and make the best decision we can possibly make. I think we’re on the right road for this,” said Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson, a committee member. “We’re hopefully going to get these barriers in the right locations.”
The possible installation of the barriers on the busy commuter highway in Douglas and Johnson counties has been a hot topic for the Kansas Department of Transportation since a deadly April 16 cross-median crash near Eudora. Two Eudora residents, including 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, died in the accident.
Soon after the crash, Hopson wrote to Gov. Sam Brownback asking him to direct KDOT to install the barriers for 23 miles — between Lawrence and Interstate 435 in Johnson County.
Brownback ordered KDOT to work with local stakeholders to study cable barriers and the highway’s safety.
Last summer Johnson County commissioners initiated a proposal for a pilot project that would have KDOT install cable-median barriers along K-10 at a two-mile stretch near the Kansas Highway 7 intersection and a one-mile stretch near Eudora because of the deadly and serious crashes that have occurred in those areas in the last decade. Two Johnson County women were also injured in a cross-median crash in July near Kansas Highway 7.
That project was estimated to cost $125,000 per mile with Johnson County picking up 20 percent of the cost in its county.
Now Johnson County Commissioner Jim Allen, who also wants cable along the whole 23-mile stretch, said the K-10 committee has extended its recommendation for a cable-median barrier from Eudora east to Lexington Avenue in De Soto.
“I think KDOT wants to see a demonstration that cables actually work,” Allen said.
The local committee is also expected to ask KDOT to lobby the Kansas Legislature to designate K-10 as a safety corridor — a program modeled after other states — making the highway eligible for higher fines for traffic violations and additional enforcement.
KDOT officials said Deputy Secretary Jerry Younger, the state transportation engineer, would meet with committee members at 10:30 a.m. today at the Eudora Community Center, 1628 Elm St.