September 2, 2014

LETTER: Speed limit should be reduced on portion of 175th Street

Jerry L Kellogg, Sr.
Gardner

The US 56 Highway Corridor Plan study completed in 2010 by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) concluded that by the year 2040 US 56 through Gardner would require a six-lane arterial roadway (3-lanes in each direction) between Moonlight Road and I-35. The highway currently carries approximately 25,000 vehicles per day through this zone.
The existing US 56 bridge was constructed over New Century Parkway and the BNSF transcontinental railroad tracks about 1980 — when the population of Gardner was 2,290.  The bridge could be retrofitted to accommodate six-lanes with a concrete center median and a reduction in the posted speed limit, according to the KDOT study.

The Corridor Plan proposes modifications by the year 2040 that would effectively remove the recently reconfigured Old US 56 intersection with new US 56 by redirecting traffic to and from Old US 56 via realignment with New Century Parkway and new connecting ramps north and south of the bridge. This would likely result in the need for two sets of traffic signals on New Century Parkway at the proposed ramp junctions.

After the tragic double fatality head-on collision last Dec. 8 at the western end of the bridge, I spoke with KDOT traffic engineers and pleaded for an immediate reduction in the speed limit and the installation of temporary median barriers.  I was told that placing center barriers would require an additional 19 feet of roadway width and that speed limits are established by traffic surveys of the rates of speed traveled by 85 percent of motorists over this bridge.  Sadly, the impression I got from our conversation (and I hope I am wrong) was that KDOT is currently more concerned with a speedy flow of traffic at the expense of motorist safety.

I asked the state traffic engineer if a request from the governing body of Gardner would enhance the possibility of a new study of the US 56 bridge traffic safety conditions and he replied it probably would.  I have not heard if the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department has yet released the final report on the cause of the December accident, but I would urge the City of Gardner and our state senator and state representative to look into this matter.  In my opinion, steps should be taken now to help prevent future injuries and loss of lives on this stretch of highway – 2040 is just too far away.

Comments

  1. Well, Mr. Kellogg and other citizens, lots of luck getting government entities like KDOT, the Jo. Co. Sheriff’s Office (they have had since Dec. to give out their report and haven’t done it), your city and county or your state representatives and senators to answer your pleas for help. My years of experience in this area have shown me time and time again these entities don’t work for the citizens – their agenda is driven by special interests. Sad but true. The only way those things will change is if the citizens come out of their deep sleep of apathy and get themselves educated and informed on important issues, get decent people to run for office and support them at the polls (you know like actually voting rather than the 10 to 15% voting record we will probably see in Gardner next month). You might also want to run those who bring about campaigns based on lies and hate and those who support such, out of town on a rail. Cronyism government, as we have seen for years, will continue strong, as evidenced by many of the statements made by the candidates for office here in Gardner, and the people will have no one but themselves to blame when their concerns are not addressed by worthless politicians and bureaucrats, but only the concerns of the special interests and those who want the sweet deals or who want to build their resumes on the backs of the people.

  2. One fatality wreck in nearly 20 years of existence (I’m pretty sure you need to check your facts on the 1980 construction, I lived here then and remember it in the early 1990s) AND the wreck was a freak accident where one car inexplicably crossed the center line and slammed head-on into another car. I don’t know that a speed limit change would’ve had any effect. Even at 45 miles/hour I bet the outcome would have been the same.

  3. concerned says:

    Going highway speed on two curves with no barrier while other people are merging in is insane. There is no other way around that. The speed over that bridge should be 40-45. Personally, I would actually be comfortable with 35. Speed does have an effect when there are lots of cars in a confined space, and a barrier would have absolutely prevented it.

  4. That stretch of road is an accident waiting to happen and more lives could be lost with resulting suffering. And that little rigged up corner with the light to get the Coleman trucks up onto 175th St. is a death trap in my opinion – that little project alone, which citizens had to pay for, tells you who the politicians and bureaucrats work for and it sure isn’t the average citizen. At the very least they should lower that speed limit all the way to the I-35 interchange but they will probably put up a sign saying something like “Caution – Speeding Cars – Stay in Your Lane” which so reminds me of the “Rough Road” sign they put up on 183rd St., like any sane person would know if they had good enough eyesight to be driving and still had feeling in their body as they bounced down the street from all of the potholes and bumps. I am waiting for one of the fire trucks to end up in the ditch and I have to pay those costs.

    Welcome to Gardner, Ks. – City of Promise – Promise You Will Want to Leave……considering what you have to pay for and why and how you get closer to a police state every day………….

  5. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Someone with KDOT has evidently heard our concerns. I was pleased to notice yesterday that new 50-mph speed limit signs have been posted on the US 56 bridge. Not the reduction to 45 that I had pleaded for, but at least it’s a start towards making that hazardous zone safer. Thank you, KDOT.

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