KDOT announces right-in, right-out at K-10/Kasold intersection

photo by: Nick Krug

Motorists along East 1200 Road approach a stop sign at an intersection that connects East 1200 Road and the South Lawrence Trafficway just south of the Kasold curve on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

After months of debate, Kansas Department of Transportation officials announced that they have decided on a right-in, right-out configuration where Kansas Highway 10 meets Kasold Drive.

KDOT said in a news release the option was “low cost” and a compromise between safety concerns at the intersection and nearby residents’ calls to maintain access to it. The intersection will change to right-in, right-out at an unspecified date this fall.

“The low-cost right-in, right-out reduced the predicted number of total crashes and (T-bone crashes) compared to the ‘do nothing/no build’ alternative,” the release states. “It provides partial access at the current location, which addresses the public’s desire for access at the intersection.”

KDOT will add pavement markings at the intersection, and tubular markers will be placed between K-10’s eastbound and westbound lanes indicating vehicles shouldn’t cross the highway’s centerline. The additions will come at a cost of less than $70,000, KDOT estimated.

The markers will be flexible, so they don’t damage vehicles striking them and could be plowed over by emergency vehicles needing to cross K-10’s centerline at the intersection, project leaders have said.

KDOT also announced plans to install permanent traffic signals at the intersection of U.S. 59 and County Road 458. Those will be added next summer or fall at a cost of approximately $170,000.

When KDOT this winter announced plans to close the Kasold intersection — sparking the debate with area residents and local officials — residents south of K-10 and west of U.S. 59 said the closure would force them to turn left from their neighborhood onto U.S. 59. They cited safety concerns about crossing the four-lane highway.

The traffic signal will “allow for a protected left-turn for access onto northbound U.S. 59,” the release states.

KDOT made the final decision earlier this week, the release states, after reviewing input from Lawrence and Douglas County commissioners at a June 21 meeting.

At the June 21 meeting, two of the three county commissioners and all five city commissioners voiced support for the alternative option of adding a traffic light at the intersection.

The intersection is in the district of Douglas County Commission Chairman Jim Flory, who said at the time the option for a traffic signal had the most support among his constituents.

Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman supported the right-in, right-out plan favored by KDOT.

Second to closing the intersection altogether, the right-in, right-out option was the safest, engineers with the project said at the time. With the opening of the east leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway in November, KDOT estimates a 78 percent increase in crashes if the K-10/Kasold intersection were left unchanged.

The change to right-in, right-out is expected to produce 10 percent fewer crashes.

The four-lane SLT will transition to the two-lane K-10 just east of the intersection. KDOT anticipates widening the rest of K-10 to four lanes sometime in the future, but funding for the plan hasn’t yet been allocated.