Archive for Monday, September 23, 2013

Tire tracks, ditched cars point to danger on K-10, Eudora business owner says

September 23, 2013


A car passes an area along K-10 where tracks are visible. A Eudora business owner says a slight depression in the pavement causes cars to hydroplane just west of the Eudora exit after heavy rain, and run off the road.

A car passes an area along K-10 where tracks are visible. A Eudora business owner says a slight depression in the pavement causes cars to hydroplane just west of the Eudora exit after heavy rain, and run off the road.

The tire tracks look fresh, the grass still flattened. They run to the right from the highway shoulder, then start to curve left as the driver skidded through grass and dug into soil.

If Dan Strimple's hunch is right, they're the all-too-regular consequence of heavy rain, in this case on Thursday night, along a patch of K-10 in Eudora.

Strimple says there have been plenty of other tracks like these during the past two years. Altogether, he said, he's seen 15 or 20 vehicles in the ditch near this strip of the highway.

After seeing so many tracks and marooned cars following heavy rains, Strimple knew something wasn't right. "I thought, 'Uh oh. We got a problem,'" he said.

Strimple started noticed regular appearances of skid marks and cars off the road near this particular stretch of highway after the K-10 lanes were resurfaced in 2011. Strimple, who is co-owner of Cutter's Smokehouse in Eudora, thinks the culprit is a slight depression in the pavement in the left eastbound lane on K-10.

The patch is just east of the Winchester Road overpass, less than half a mile from the Church Street exit, alongside Eudora Baptist Church.

Strimple said he called the Kansas Department of Transportation about six months ago. Whoever he talked to seemed excited to get the tip, he said, but he has seen the highway pool up since then.

On Thursday Kimberly Qualls, a spokeswoman for KDOT, said she hadn't heard about the complaint. A crew is scheduled to inspect the stretch of road early next week, she said.

All Strimple cares about, he said, is getting the road fixed. "If they can get the water off the highway, it would help. There's no doubt about it," he said.

Even within a few yards, no dip in the highway is visible. You can't feel it driving over the pavement in dry weather. But Strimple says it's there, and deep enough to fill up like a shallow pool when heavy rains come.

He's seen the highway pool up himself, passing in the right lane. He's even tried driving over it himself in wet weather, though taking it at a slow speed because he's seen the consequences of not doing so. He didn't have trouble with it, but then again he drives a hulking Yukon XL. It's the smaller vehicles he worries about.

He hasn't seen or heard of any full-on wrecks yet, but he worries a car could overturn if it hits a pool too fast, or that a hydroplaning vehicle could cross the median and end up in a head-on collision.

"I haven't heard of anyone getting hurt yet, thank God," he said, "but we can only press our luck so far."


SofaKing 4 years, 2 months ago

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Ginny Hedges 4 years, 2 months ago

I am grateful Mr. Strimple has noticed this and reported it. Thank you.

nwtransplant 4 years, 2 months ago

Yea, you might want to slow down for puddles of water in the roadway. I believe that I learned this in drivers education when I was 14. They cannot guarantee that the roads are perfect everywhere so we need to watch for puddles in the road and other hazards.

geekin_topekan 4 years, 2 months ago

Is it just me or do paragraphs 1-6 say the same thing over and over?

Dusty Murphy 4 years, 2 months ago

But on K-10 slowing down simply isn't an option sometimes. I haven't driven it in about a year because it's such rough driving due to other drivers. When I was on it quite often it wasn't uncommon in the morning for all the cars to be going 80 mph and it would be less common but still a regular occurrence for someone to pass you at even higher speeds while reading the paper or applying makeup in the rear view mirror. I'm not saying it makes going through puddles or standing water at high speeds acceptable but I know in a lot of circumstances slowing down- especially in the left/passing lane- is going to equal a wreck, perhaps even a multi-car pile up, on K-10.

windjammer 4 years, 2 months ago

Slowing down is always an option Dusty.

deec 4 years, 2 months ago

If people are driving too fast for road conditions, it's not the fault of the road if they have difficulties. I think you can even get a ticket for driving too fast for conditions.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 2 months ago

Good to know. Normally, K-10 drains pretty good, I will pay attention to that. Speak up. In Lawrence, sometimes I run across major oil slicks, I call the street department and they are good at getting someone the check it out and throw something on it.

Dale Stringer 4 years, 2 months ago

I think a more important problem with K-10 is the line paint. When it is dark and there is any amount of rain, the lines just disappear. When it is like that, you just have to feel your way down the road by staying between the rumble strips on the side. I'm sure some people hit the rumble strips and then over correct.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 2 months ago

It's always good when people report correctable dangers on the road so that appropriate measures can be taken, instead of simply assuming that someone else will do it. It's very possible that a horrific accident will now be prevented.

Russell Fryberger 4 years, 2 months ago

My daughter and I saw a Mustang coming at us across the median one morning when coming to work, it was raining. About 1/4 west of the Church st. exit. After that I really started to notice all the marks in the grass crossing the median.

windjammer 4 years, 2 months ago

99% of those marks are the officers changing direction to stop speeders. Speeders the number one problem of K 10.

RDE87 4 years, 2 months ago

I hydroplaned there about three years ago while commuting in the rain and ended up in the grass median. I was going considerable slower than the speed limit and was not distracted while driving. When it rains I can still see standing water in this spot and at least once I have seen an officer parked before it to caution people. I agree that most people speed on K10 but this isn't just a case of people driving too fast for conditions, it needs to be fixed.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 2 months ago

The resurfacing was done not that long ago. In essence one would not expect problems this soon. For the number of tax dollars going out on a highway project it is not too much to expect perfection on a high speed roadway. Where are the KDOT inspectors? It's lucky a taxpayer is paying attention...... thank you. I also will be paying closer attention.

Does KDOT have inspectors on these projects? After all it is no secret that rush hour on K-10 is fast and furious no matter what. Not only is there high speed but substantial numbers of vehicles tailgating, texting and cell phone talking. This stretch of highway during 3 hours of AM and PM rush hour plus Jayhawk game days might be able to keep a dozen state troopers very busy.

In rush hour tailgating this pool of water has tremendous potential of contributing to a multiple vehicle accident.

I second the comment regarding the roadway surface markings disappearing in wet situations. Again where are the KDOT inspectors? Taxpayers are not getting their money's worth.

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