KDOT to permanently close K-10 intersection at Kasold
photo by: Elvyn Jones
Story updated at 4:29 p.m. Thursday
After 28 accidents in about two years, state transportation officials are eliminating a west Lawrence intersection on the South Lawrence Trafficway.
The Kansas Department of Transportation will close the intersection of Kansas Highway 10 and Kasold Drive, also known as East 1200 Road, beginning Monday, Dec. 3. After that date, motorists no longer will be allowed to use Kasold Drive to enter or exit the freeway.
A group of rural residents previously had successfully lobbied transportation officials to keep the intersection partially open, claiming that a full closure would eliminate an important access point for residents of southern Douglas County.
In a news release Thursday, KDOT said more than 28 crashes have happened at the intersection since 2016, when the freeway saw a large increase in traffic with the opening of the eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway. That’s despite safety improvements around the time of the east leg’s opening to restrict the intersection to only right turns, on and off of the highway.
On Thursday, the county’s chief engineer said he supported the closure of the intersection.
“I think given the studies and the accident rates they have revealed, it has to be closed,” said Keith Browning, director of public works for Douglas County. “I think it would be irresponsible for them to not close it at this point.”
An attempt to reach one of the primary proponents of keeping the intersection open wasn’t immediately successful Thursday afternoon.
KDOT officials are looking at longer-term safety improvements for the west leg of the trafficway, but they are likely still years away. KDOT has expressed interest in expanding the western leg to four lanes and improving interchanges on the route, but a recently started environmental study for such a project is expected to take three years. In addition, a four-lane expansion will require major funding from the Kansas Legislature.
KDOT said the closing of the Kasold intersection is part of a series of safety improvements the state can make to the road during the next 12 to 24 months, while still planning for a long-term solution that could include expanding the freeway to four lanes.
Other intersections also may be considered for safety improvements in the interim. Browning said an at-grade intersection near the Lecompton interchange of the trafficway was being studied, and so too was the 27th Street intersection in west Lawrence.
A Topeka man was seriously injured Thursday morning when he rear-ended a car and caused a three-car crash at the 27th Street intersection, which has a stop light.
Numerous other crashes, resulting in serious injuries and at least two deaths, have occurred along the stretch of K-10 between Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street since the east leg opened in 2016.
Browning said some advance warning signs, perhaps the kind that flash to warn motorists of an impending stop light, could be added to the freeway.
“I do think KDOT is looking at those type of improvements,” Browning said.
Browning said the county continues to push for a full interchange with entrance and exit ramps at 27th Street to serve the YSI sports complex and surrounding area. He said the county believes such an interchange should be constructed regardless of whether plans for a four-lane expansion of the freeway move forward.
Following the elimination of Kasold access, the nearest access points to K-10 will be the 27th Street intersection to the west and the Iowa Street interchange to the east.
Work to eliminate Kasold access is expected to take two weeks, and signs will alert drivers of the impending closure beginning Monday, Nov. 19.