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The eastbound ramp between Interstates 35 and 435 in Johnson County will be closed from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 29.
The Kansas Department of Transportation warns drivers in the area to expect delays and suggests using alternate routes though the agency will not be marking any detours. Crews will be doing grinding work on the closed ramps.
KDOT expects the work to be done within the six-hour window, weather permitting.
The Kansas Department of Transportation will install cable median barriers along two 2-mile stretches of Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence, including a section where 5-year-old Cainan Shutt of Eudora died in April.
On Wednesday morning, KDOT Deputy Secretary Jerry Younger announced the $800,000 project likely to begin next summer in Eudora. The decision was made after a committee of local stakeholders had met with state officials for months to discuss the highway’s safety east of Lawrence in the wake of the April 16 double fatality near Eudora.
“That committee helped get us to a point that makes sense,” Younger said, “to take some actions that make sense.”
Cainan’s grandmother, committee member Carrie Lawrence of Overland Park, sat in the audience at the Eudora Community Center and pumped her fist as her eyes teared up when Younger announced plans for the project. She also clutched her daughter, Alison Shutt, the mother of Cainan and Courtlynn Shutt, 2, who suffered a spinal fracture in the crash.
Ryan Pittman, 24, also died when his vehicle crossed the median and struck head-on the minivan the children’s stepgrandfather, Danny Basel, was driving. Basel and his wife, Ann, were also injured.
Alison Shutt and hundreds of people had formed a group, “Cables for Cainan,” in the wake of the crash, and urged the state to install the cable barriers to help prevent cross-median crashes. K-10 is a busy commuter highway between Lawrence and suburban Kansas City.
“We’re very happy with today’s steps,” Shutt said. “I do think it’s just the beginning because, of course, I believe the whole highway needs to have cables, but I think this was a great step. And I’m happy that this went forward today.”
KDOT formed the local committee of Douglas County and Johnson County officials and residents after Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson wrote a letter to Gov. Sam Brownback following the April crash asking Brownback to direct KDOT to install cable along the median from the eastern edge of Lawrence to 23 miles east at Interstate 435 in Johnson County.
Exchanges were often tense after the crash, but Shutt and Hopson both indicated they were happy with the state’s decision Wednesday. Younger said the process of involving local stakeholders helped immensely.
“This is something that everyone in this community thought that it was kind of like David and Goliath. We were going up against the state of Kansas,” Hopson said. “And the state of Kansas basically shook our hand and said, ‘hey, we’re going to work with you on this project.’ It proved everyone wrong, and we’re very thankful for that.”
Johnson County commissioners, including committee member Jim Allen, a former Shawnee mayor, earlier this summer proposed a pilot project similar to what KDOT adopted. It was to install cable median barriers along the two stretches where multiple cross-median crash fatalities had occurred in the last decade.
Younger said KDOT will begin preparing a process to solicit bids to install the cable median barrier between Eudora’s Church Street and East 2300 Road exits in Douglas County and for two miles near the Kansas Highway 7 interchange in Johnson County. He said they were two sections that had experienced a high number of cross-median crashes. Cables are utilized heavily as safety measures aimed at preventing cross-median crashes in other states, including Missouri. Before Wednesday KDOT had only authorized two other cable median projects, near Topeka and Wichita.
KDOT is currently widening shoulders and adding rumble strips to them while doing repaving work on K-10 in Douglas County. Younger said he hoped that project would wrap up in the next couple of weeks.
As for the cable installation, he said KDOT typically has a nine-month process to collect information to design a project and solicit bids.
“We’re going to try to compress that time frame as best as we can, maybe into six or seven months,” Younger said. “But even with that, we’re probably looking at construction in the middle or end of the next summer.”
Some members of the K-10 committee had recommended KDOT install four more miles of a cable median barrier, from Eudora east to De Soto, but Clay Adams, KDOT’s northeast Kansas area engineered who was a co-chairman of the committee, said there was an even split on support for the two plans.
“It made more sense to KDOT to concentrate on this 2-mile section at Eudora,” Adams said.
Much of the committee’s work centered on the cable median barrier, but KDOT said it will also lobby the Kansas Legislature to designate K-10 as a “highway safety corridor,” making it eligible for more enforcement and increased fines for traffic violations. Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, is expected to work on the legislation.
Younger said in the meantime, KDOT will also explore ways to add extra law enforcement on K-10, possibly through providing funding to local law enforcement agencies.
Johnson County had offered initially to pay for 20 percent of the project near Kansas Highway 7, and Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman said she expected to get a similar request from the state. But Younger said Wednesday KDOT will pick up the entire cost of the project.
“From the beginning the cost was never an issue for KDOT,” Younger said.
Once the cables are in place, KDOT officials will monitor how they work because their use could have an impact on statewide policy.
“Obviously we’re going to look at how they perform over time and if indeed they take care of the cross-median events,” Younger said. “We’ll kind of monitor how they work in this area. We’ll continue to work on and look at crash history throughout the state, work on our policy, adjust and modify how it seems fit.”
Alison Shutt said her mother and other committee members helped notify KDOT officials of other cross-median crashes that occurred on K-10 that weren’t showing up in statistics.
“This hopefully will save lives, and I would like to see KDOT in the future add on to these cable barriers,” said Hopson, the Eudora mayor and committee’s other co-chairman. “Maybe some day we could have them the full length of the highway.”
Shutt on Wednesday spoke to reporters and clutched her daughter, who has now healed from her injuries.
“She’s made a full recovery much quicker than anyone thought she would,” Shutt said. “The doctors were very impressed with her recovery.”
She also called her son a “super hero.”
“I think just Cainan would be really proud that this all happened after our accident, and that he’s able to make a difference for people,” she said. “I think he’d be really proud of that.”
By George Diepenbrock
A panel studying the safety of Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence will ask the state to install two stretches of cable-median barriers near Eudora and De Soto and farther east in Johnson County, two committee members told the Lawrence Journal-World Tuesday.
“All we can do is get the facts and make the best decision we can possibly make. I think we’re on the right road for this,” said Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson, a committee member. “We’re hopefully going to get these barriers in the right locations.”
The possible installation of the barriers on the busy commuter highway in Douglas and Johnson counties has been a hot topic for the Kansas Department of Transportation since a deadly April 16 cross-median crash near Eudora. Two Eudora residents, including 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, died in the accident.
Soon after the crash, Hopson wrote to Gov. Sam Brownback asking him to direct KDOT to install the barriers for 23 miles — between Lawrence and Interstate 435 in Johnson County.
Brownback ordered KDOT to work with local stakeholders to study cable barriers and the highway’s safety.
Last summer Johnson County commissioners initiated a proposal for a pilot project that would have KDOT install cable-median barriers along K-10 at a two-mile stretch near the Kansas Highway 7 intersection and a one-mile stretch near Eudora because of the deadly and serious crashes that have occurred in those areas in the last decade. Two Johnson County women were also injured in a cross-median crash in July near Kansas Highway 7.
That project was estimated to cost $125,000 per mile with Johnson County picking up 20 percent of the cost in its county.
Now Johnson County Commissioner Jim Allen, who also wants cable along the whole 23-mile stretch, said the K-10 committee has extended its recommendation for a cable-median barrier from Eudora east to Lexington Avenue in De Soto.
“I think KDOT wants to see a demonstration that cables actually work,” Allen said.
The local committee is also expected to ask KDOT to lobby the Kansas Legislature to designate K-10 as a safety corridor — a program modeled after other states — making the highway eligible for higher fines for traffic violations and additional enforcement.
KDOT officials said Deputy Secretary Jerry Younger, the state transportation engineer, would meet with committee members at 10:30 a.m. today at the Eudora Community Center, 1628 Elm St.
By George Diepenbrock
Road crews with the Kansas Department of Transportation will be reducing westbound Kansas Highway 10 to one lane from Ridgeview Road to Woodland Avenue and from Kill Creek Road to Lexington Avenue, around the clock, beginning Monday, Oct. 31 at 7 a.m.
Crews will be repairing bridge joints on the K-10 westbound bridges over Lexington Avenue, Kill Creek Road and Mill Creek Road as part of what a press release from KDOT calls "an emergency project."
Concrete barriers and signs will direct traffic through the work zone at a reduced speed of 55 mph, according to KDOT. The project is expected to be completed by mid-November, pending weather conditions.
Thanks to progress made last weekend, a project to finish new markings for Interstate 35 lanes will not shut down lanes again this weekend.
The Kansas Department of Transportation began the pavement marking project Oct. 14 on northbound and southbound I-35 from Southwest Boulevard to the Kansas/Missouri state line in Wyandotte County. Crews began around-the-clock work last weekend, reducing the highway to one lane at times.
Work was to continue this weekend, but KDOT announced today that due to the diligent work of the contractor, Twin Traffic Marking, and KDOT construction staff, along with the great weather, the second set of closures have been cancelled. Any remaining work will be completed during the weekdays over the next couple of weeks, Monday-Friday, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Highway construction projects originally scheduled for last weekend will be completed this weekend, according to a release from the Kansas Department of Transportation.
KDOT warns drivers to expect "major delays" if using westbound I-435 and to avoid the area if possible.
Roadwork on Interstate 435 began at 9 a.m. this morning with the closure of the entrance ramp from Quivira Road to I-435.
All lanes of westbound I-435 between U.S. Highway 69 and Interstate 35 will close at 7 p.m. tonight. All entrance and exit ramps between U.S. 69 and I-435, I-35 and I-435 and the westbound ramp from I-435 to Quivira Road will also be closed. All work is expected to be completed by 5 a.m. Monday morning, Oct. 17.
According to the release from KDOT, advance message boards will remind traffic of the closures and marked detours will be provided. Drivers can keep track of traffic online.
Kansas transportation secretary supports Obama’s jobs bill; KDOT unveils $650 million in road, bridge projects
Her boss may not like it, but Kansas Department of Transportation Deb Miller said Thursday she’d like President Barack Obama’s jobs bill to be approved.
“We’d be very excited if the jobs bill passed,” Miller said. She said passage of the bill would mean $260 million in additional revenue for transportation projects in Kansas.
Miller’s boss, Gov. Sam Brownback, has expressed opposition to the jobs bill.
Obama has proposed a $447 billion bill, saying it would help jumpstart the economy. It would extend and expand a cut in payroll taxes paid by employees and it includes funds for roads, bridges, schools and grants to local governments to pay salaries of teachers and first responders. It would raise funds through tax increases on wealthier people.
Brownback appointed Miller, making her the lone holdover Cabinet member from the administrations of Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson, who are both Democrats. Brownback is a Republican.
Miller’s comment about Obama’s proposal came in response to a question during a news conference in which she unveiled a two-year schedule of $650 million in transportation projects.
Most of the projects are described as preservation jobs, such as bridge replacements, overlays, road rehabilitation and pavement replacement. They are part of the T-WORKS transportation plan approved by the 2010 Legislature.
“These aren’t the rock star projects,” she said. “This is the type of work that keeps the Kansas roadway system in great condition.”
The Kansas Highway 10 construction project is back on.
Rumble strips and paved roadside shoulders are coming to that stretch of K-10 that runs from the edge of Lawrence to the Johnson County line.
Accompanying the safety improvements will be a new 1.5-inch-thick layer of pavement, giving the popular four-lane highway a fresh surface for the first time in 12 years.
The work starts at 9 a.m. Monday. It had been scheduled to start twice before, but then postponed.
“We’ll do the best we can to minimize the frustration for everybody,” said Jason Van Nice, the project’s construction manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Crews from Perry-based Hamm Construction will handle the $4.3 million job, scheduled to be finished in early November.
Beginning Monday, crews will start patching areas that have major damage, starting at the eastern edge of Lawrence and working their way east. They will patch in one lane for eastbound traffic at a time; after that, they’ll switch over to lanes used by traffic heading back into Lawrence.
Expect patching to last a week, with crews working mostly during daytime hours.
“We’ll probably be moving around quite a bit that first week,” Van Nice said. “We’ll fix the really bad spots so they don’t get any worse.”
After that, crews will turn their attention to grinding off the top inch of the highway’s asphalt — again, one lane at a time on one side of the highway — before laying down a thicker layer of fresh material, often the same day. Much of that work will be done after dark, Van Nice said, to minimize traffic disruptions.
The highway typically handles more than 25,000 vehicles a day, including more than 1,100 heavy commercial trucks.
“Most of the big work will be overnight,” Van Nice said.
Crews will be allowed to work seven days a week, but — by contract — they will be prohibited from working or having any lanes closed during specific periods of high traffic:
• From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, considered peak travel times for commuters.
• Saturdays when Kansas University has a home football game: Oct. 15, Oct. 22 and, if the project isn’t finished yet, Nov. 12.
The speed limit will be reduced from 70 mph to 55 mph in areas where crews are working. No more than one lane of traffic, in one direction, will be closed at any one time, Van Nice said.
Some ramp closures may cause detours, Van Nice said, but crews will attempt to keep ramps open even while repaving work is being conducted in the area. Any work involving a ramp closure will be done overnight.
“We’re trying to minimize the inconvenience,” Van Nice said.
By George Diepenbrock
The Kansas Department of Transportation has again delayed construction work that was scheduled to begin Wednesday on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence.
KDOT had already delayed the Douglas County project twice. It said the contractor, Hamm Construction of Perry, has had scheduling conflicts with its project on the Kansas Turnpike, and Tuesday afternoon KDOT officials said the K-10 project would be suspended until further notice. Hamm won the $4.3 million bid to repave the driving lanes and expand the shoulders to include rumble strips from Lawrence east for eight miles to the Johnson County line.
KDOT spokeswoman Kim Qualls said officials would give the public a minimum notice of two days before work begins on K-10, and contractors are still scheduled to complete the project in early November, weather permitting.
KDOT officials have also said once construction starts crews will be working day and night except for peak travel times from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and on Kansas University home football game days.
By George Diepenbrock
The start of construction on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence again has been delayed.
It’s now scheduled to start next Wednesday, the Kansas Department of Transportation has announced.
KDOT spokeswoman Kim Qualls said scheduling conflicts have affected the start date for the $4.3 million project by Hamm Construction of Perry because Hamm is working to complete a project on the Kansas Turnpike near Lawrence.
On K-10, workers will patch and resurface the eight miles of the driving lanes — and widen shoulders with rumble strips — between Lawrence and the Johnson County line. Work originally was to begin last Monday, but now has been delayed twice. The project is expected to be done in November.
Qualls said that once construction starts, crews will be working day and night, but not during peak travels times from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and on Kansas University home football gamedays.
Drivers on the busy highway should expect delays because the highway will be reduced to one lane each way in one- to two-mile stretches.
“Drivers should expect delays and are encouraged to use alternate routes, if possible,” Qualls said.
KDOT said the work zone speed limit will be 55 mph and drivers are urged to pay attention and not use cellphones.
By George Diepenbrock