Posts tagged with Transportation

It’s that time again: Be on the lookout for deer as you’re driving

Much of the fall is designated as deer hunting season, but for many Americans it might be more aptly renamed deer hitting season.

Deer mate during the months of October to December, so it’s no surprise that the number of vehicle-deer accidents increases during those three months.

A combination of no natural predators to keep deer populations in check and restrictions on when and where hunters can kill deer mean that herds have grown during the past several decades. And continual land development in rural areas has created a greater potential for deer and human conflicts.

Here are some numbers to illustrate just how much deer and humans are colliding.

$3.6 billion

The amount of vehicle damaged caused by deer accidents each year in the United States.

$3,170

The average amount of property damage per vehicle each deer accident is likely to cause.

1.6 million

The number of crashes each year in the United States caused by deer.

9,103

The number of accidents in Kansas in 2010 caused by deer.

2

The number of people who died in Kansas in 2010 from a deer related accident.

305

The number of people who were injured in Kansas in 2010 from a deer related accident.

4,704

The number of accidents in Kansas in 2010 where an animal, the majority of which are deer, were listed as a contributing cause.

8

The number of people injured from deer related accidents in 2010.

6.8 percent

Percentage of accidents in Douglas County in 2010 where deer were listed as the cause.

145

The number of deer related accidents in Douglas County in 1991.

55.9 percent

The increase in the number of deer related accidents in Douglas County from 1990 to 2010.

AAA and the Kansas Insurance Department have tips for drivers to decrease the chances of hitting a deer.

Stay alert

Scan the road and shoulders ahead of you. By looking ahead, it’s hoped you’ll have enough time to react if a deer is spotted. Often, the reflection of a deer eyes and their silhouettes can be seen on the shoulder of the road. Remember if you see one deer, it’s likely others are nearby. Also, always wear a seat belt, remain awake and stay sober.

Use high beam headlights

If there isn’t any oncoming traffic, switch to your high beams. They help spot deer earlier, giving you more time to slow down. If there are deer on the road, beep your horn to scare them.

Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk

Deer tend to be on the move at the same time most workers are. So, make sure you’re on the lookout for them during early-morning commutes and on the drive home from work.

Brake, but don’t swerve

If a collision is unavoidable, AAA says to press the brakes firmly and remain in your lane. Whatever you do, don’t swerve to avoid a deer. That can cause more serious crashes or result in drivers losing control of their vehicles.

Call for help

If you hit the deer, like thousands of Kansans do every year, contact your insurance company immediately. Collisions involving deer are generally covered under insurance policies. And, if the dead deer is blocking the road or poses a danger to other motorists, report the incident to a local law enforcement agency.

By Christine Metz

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K-10 repaving project is back on; work to begin Monday morning

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

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K-10 commuters get another reprieve; construction now delayed indefinitely

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

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Start of construction on K-10 east of Lawrence postponed again — to next Wednesday

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

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State official warns of problems if Congress fails to extend gas tax

Kansas Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller said Wednesday that if Congress fails to extend the federal motor fuels tax by Sept. 30, the state may have to shut down some highway construction projects.

"The disruption of funding would be absolutely immediate and of a concern," Miller told state legislators during a meeting of the Legislative Budget Committee.

The federal tax, which is 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel, is set to expire Sept. 30 unless reauthorized by Congress.

Approximately 30 percent of the $1.5 billion the Kansas Department of Transportation expects to receive this fiscal year comes from the federal highway program. All of the federal monies go directly toward construction.

Miller did not say which projects would be affected if the tax wasn't extended, but she provided legislators with a map of Kansas showing numerous federally funded road projects under construction.

Miller said it appears most members of Congress want to keep construction projects going in their districts, but she said some have voiced opposition to extending the tax.

Miller also noted that under President Barack Obama's jobs plan, which includes funds for infrastructure improvements, Kansas could receive an additional $263 million in transportation funding.

By Scott Rothschild

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Start of construction on K-10 east of Lawrence postponed for one week

Drivers on Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence expecting to encounter construction delays Monday got a one-week reprieve.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced the resurfacing project in Douglas County was moved from Monday to next Monday, Sept. 19, due to scheduling conflicts.

KDOT officials have contracted with Hamm Co., Perry, for a $4.3 million project to expand shoulders on K-10 east of Lawrence in Douglas County and install rumble strips to alert drivers who veer onto the shoulder. The project, which is scheduled to be complete Nov. 4 weather permitting, also includes milling and repaving the driving lanes.

KDOT says crews will not work during peak travel times — morning and evening rush hours and Kansas University game days — but KDOT says drivers should be aware of possible delays on the busy highway and adjacent interchange ramps.

The Johnson County portion of K-10 east of Lawrence already has rumble strips in the shoulders, but the Douglas County portion does not.

By George Diepenbrock

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KDOT warns drivers: Be ready for delays on K-10 during roadwork, starting on Monday

The Kansas Department of Transportation is warning drivers on Kansas Highway 10 about possible delays east of Lawrence beginning Monday, when work is scheduled to start on a repaving and rumble strip project.

In August, KDOT officials awarded a $4.3 million bid to Hamm Co. of Perry to expand shoulders on K-10 east of Lawrence in Douglas County and install rumble strips to alert drivers who veer onto the shoulder. The project, scheduled to begin Monday and end Nov. 4, also includes milling and repaving the driving lanes.

Kim Qualls, a KDOT spokeswoman, said crews will not work during peak travel times — morning and evening rush hours and Kansas University game days — but she said it’s such a busy highway that drivers should be aware of possible delays.

The Johnson County portion of K-10 east of Lawrence already has rumble strips in the shoulders, but the Douglas County portion does not.

In April, after a fatality crash near the Church Street exit in Eudora killed two people, including 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, Gov. Sam Brownback ordered the KDOT to have the rumble strip project completed this fall, and Brownback also required KDOT to work with local residents and government officials to study whether to install cable-median barriers on K-10. The study group has been meeting once a month since May.

By George Diepenbrock

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KDOT warns drivers: Be ready for delays on K-10 during roadwork, starting on Monday

The Kansas Department of Transportation is warning drivers on Kansas Highway 10 about possible delays east of Lawrence beginning Monday, when work is scheduled to start on a repaving and rumble strip project.

In August, KDOT officials awarded a $4.3 million bid to Hamm Co. of Perry to expand shoulders on K-10 east of Lawrence in Douglas County and install rumble strips to alert drivers who veer onto the shoulder. The project, scheduled to begin Monday and end Nov. 4, also includes milling and repaving the driving lanes.

Kim Qualls, a KDOT spokeswoman, said crews will not work during peak travel times — morning and evening rush hours and Kansas University game days — but she said it’s such a busy highway that drivers should be aware of possible delays.

The Johnson County portion of K-10 east of Lawrence already has rumble strips in the shoulders, but the Douglas County portion does not.

In April, after a fatality crash near the Church Street exit in Eudora killed two people, including 5-year-old Cainan Shutt, Gov. Sam Brownback ordered the KDOT to have the rumble strip project completed this fall, and Brownback also required KDOT to work with local residents and government officials to study whether to install cable-median barriers on K-10. The study group has been meeting once a month since May.

By George Diepenbrock

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Minor injuries reported in Friday morning accident on K-10

One person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries Friday morning after a rollover accident on Kansas Highway 10 near De Soto, said Master Deputy Tom Erickson, a Johnson County Sheriff’s spokesman.

Erickson said around 9:45 a.m. one vehicle rear-ended another causing one vehicle to roll near the Kill Creek Road exit in the eastbound lanes. Drivers in the area reported heavy traffic as officers and medics responded to the accident.

Additional information about the crash was not available Friday morning, he said.

By George Diepenbrock

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Injury accidents gnarl traffic on three highways: KHP closes K-10 for 6 hours

All lanes of Kansas Highway 10 near Eudora were reopened shortly after 10:15 p.m. after the Kansas Highway Patrol's commercial vehicle accident reconstruction team investigated a serious accident from earlier Thursday afternoon.

The highway was closed for more than six hours.

The accident was just the last of three accidents reported in Douglas County between 3 and 4:15 p.m. Helicopter ambulances were requested for all three. The other two accidents were on the Kansas Turnpike west of Lecompton and on U.S. Highway 24/40 near the Douglas-Leavenworth county line.

In the K-10 accident, a cement mixer blew a tire, causing the driver, identified as 44-year-old Tonganoxie resident Richard Vandruff, to lose control of the vehicle, according to a report from the KHP. Vandruff swerved onto the north shoulder of westbound K-10 before veering back across the lanes onto the median, where the vehicle then rolled before coming to rest on its side. Vandruff was trapped in his truck for more than 30 minutes while Lawrence Douglas County Fire Medical tried to rescue him. He was taken to a regional trauma center for treatment.

K-10 was closed both eastbound and westbound to give emergency officials room to work.

Earlier accidents included a car-motorcycle accident at milemarker 397 on U.S. Highway 24/40, shortly after 3:30 p.m. One person had critical injuries, and at least one other person had sustained unknown, less serious injuries.

According to a report from the Kansas Highway Patrol, the accident occurred when the vehicle in front of the motorcycle stopped suddenly. The driver and passenger on the motorcycle, identified as Manhattan residents Donald H. Burnett, 63, and Doreen H. Burnett, 65, were thrown from the vehicle when Donald attempted to brake.

Donald Burnett was to be taken by LifeStar helicopter to KU Hospital, however another accident was reported at the same time and the helicopter was dispatched to that accident instead. The KHP report lists both patients as being transported to KU Hospital and LMH, respectively. Nursing supervisors at each location had no additional information on the patients' conditions Thursday night. The report states neither patient was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

The investigation into the accident is pending.

The third accident was reported in the eastbound lanes of the Kansas Turnpike, just west of the Lecompton interchange.

According to a report from the Kansas Turnpike Authority, the first vehicle, driven by 29-year-old Fort Riley resident Eugene Hookano Pok Riddick II, lost control and struck the side of the second vehicle. Both vehicles crossed over all lanes of traffic, with the second vehicle rolling and coming to rest on its passenger side. The driver and passenger in the second vehicle, identified as Florida couple Robert and Joyce Berkoski, were transported to an area hospital with unknown injuries.

Riddick II was also transported to an area hospital after his vehicle came to rest in the south ditch.

A LifeStar helicopter was called to assist in patient transportation. The Turnpike was closed briefly to allow the helicopter to land on the road, but has since reopened.

No additional information regarding the condition of the three injured in the accident was available Thursday evening.

With the K-10 accident, a Hazmat response was also requested, because of spilled fuel and cement on the road. Additional information regarding the cause of the K-10 accident was not immediately available Thursday night. KHP is expected to release a report with the findings of the investigation.

By Andy Hyland, Jonathan Kealing and Joe Preiner

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