County officials called the junction of North Washington and NE 30 Road a “problem intersection,” and looked Monday morning at ways to make it safer, including the installation of a four-way stop.
It was last Tuesday that 18-year-old Shealee A. Stover died when her west-bound car was struck broadside by a north-bound loaded cement truck after she failed to stop. This was the latest crash at a corner where there have been others before.
“We had quite a lengthy discussion,” County Administrator Phil Hathcock said. Involved along with Hathcock were Barton County commissioners, County Engineer Barry McManaman, County Works Director Darren Williams and Sheriff Brian Bellendir. Also present was Aaron Suchy, who had brought the matter up at the end of the commission meeting Monday morning.
Presently, north-south-bound Washington traffic does not stop. The speed limit jumps from 45 miles per hour south of 30 Road to 55 north of it.
“We have all the other warnings we can possible have there now,” Hathcock said of 30 Road. East and westbound traffic on 30 Road is alerted to stopping by rumble strips, a stop sign and a flashing red light, and there is a sign noting cross traffic doesn’t stop.
“The general consensus was to put in a four-way stop,” Hathcock said. However, a final decision must come from the commission which will vote on the change when it next meets on May 7.
Hathcock said officials are open to public input. So far, all the input received favors the four-way option.
A Kansas Department of Transportation study done in 2005 determined that a four-way was not warranted at the intersection, McManaman said. Those meeting Monday considered a new study, but opted to forego that and recommend the change.
“Commissioners wanted to take immediate action,” McManaman said. “They have had a lot of public input and they wanted to go ahead and proceed.”
“It has always been a problem intersection,” Bellendir said.