Injury accident added evidence of signal’s need
A Dec. 1 wreck in De Soto sent a Shawnee man to the hospital and provided added justification for a traffic light to regulate what is becoming a dangerous intersection.
Johnson County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tom Erickson said the accident occurred at 6:25 a.m. at the Lexington Avenue and Commerce Drive intersection.
Citing the accident report, Erickson said James Siefgas, Shawnee, 27, attempted to cross the intersection from the east in his 1991 Geo when he was struck by George Lutz, 51, De Soto, who was southbound on Lexington in a GMC pickup.
Siefgas, who was transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash, was cited for driving on a suspended license and entering an intersection without space.
The evening of the wreck, De Soto city engineer Mike Brungardt told the De Soto City Council the accident was of a similar nature to other recent accidents at the intersection that might have been prevented with a traffic light. Although last week's accident was the first to result in an injury, there have been 10 accidents recorded at the intersection in the past three years and six in 2005.
The latest wreck will be included in a traffic warrant study the city initiated in September to examine the need for traffic signals at the Lexington Avenue intersections at Commerce Drive and 91st Street.
Traffic volume figures and accident rates have been compiled for the study. The latest accident occurred 15 minutes earlier than the hours reviewed in the warrant study, which studied traffic from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. But the study did show traffic increasing significantly during the morning and evening rush hours. Overall, traffic in the intersection increased by 25 percent in the past four years.
The signal warrant study by Bucher, Willis and Ratliff Corporation was to be shared with the Kansas Department of Transportation officials, who -- because of the Kansas Highway 10 ramps that share the intersection -- must approve a traffic signal for the Commerce Drive intersection.
City officials hope KDOT will help pay for the signal estimated to cost $180,000. Brungardt said he sent letters to businesses on Commerce Drive asking if they would participate in a benefit district for a light. The city would assume 50 percent of the cost.