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Commission OKs agreement for road projects
North Washington, NW 30 Road to see improvements
North Washington-30 Road intersection
Improvements to the troubled North Washington-30 Road intersection and on NW 50 Road are closer to a reality after an agreement approved by the Barton County Commission Monday morning.

An agreement approved by the Barton County Commission Monday morning paves the way for two improvements projects aimed at making the rural roads safer. 

At the request of the  Kansas Department of Transportation, commissioners OKed a three-party design agreement that includes KDOT, Barton County and TranSystems Corporation of Kansas City. The work involves signing improvements at the intersection of North Washington Avenue and North 30 Road as well as widening the narrow concrete drainage structure on NW 50 Road east of NW 10 Avenue, County Engineer Barry McManaman said. 

Barton County must pay the design costs in an amount not to exceed $77,833.48 and KDOT will reimburse the county 90% of the costs. The net cost to the County after reimbursement is estimated to be $7,783.35.  

TranSystems will now develop a design for the improvements, McManaman said. Estimates put the bid letting date in June 2021, but he said that may change.

Both projects fall under KDOT’s High-risk Rural Road Program.

The KDOT estimate for design, construction, and inspection is $354,691, about $270,000 of which is for the construction.

KDOT will pay for 90% of the design, construction, and inspection costs. Barton County will pay for 10% of the design, construction and inspection costs and 100% of the costs for right of way and utility adjustments.

What is involved

The intersection improvements will increase driver awareness of the stop condition on North 30 Road and provide some more warning of the intersection for all motorists, he said. These might include LED-lit stop signs, overhead lighting, other high-visibility measures such as radar-operated speed signs, and wider rumble strips.

This junction has been the scene of two serious crashes last year and the topic of much discussion.

Following the fatal crash that killed 18-year-old Shealee A. Stover on April 17, 2018, a number of changes were made at the corner. Then, on June 11, Francis Haberman, 91, was seriously injured when his pickup was struck by a trash truck.

New, larger, 48-inch stop signs, larger “Cross Traffic Does Not Stop” signs and larger “Stop Ahead” signs, all with ultra-high grade reflectivity, were installed. The speed limit was also amended, extending the 45 mph zone a half mile north of the corner. Prior to the change, the speed limit on Washington jumped from 45 miles per hour south of 30 Road to 55 north of it.  

The same new speed also applies to 30 Road a half mile west of the corner and from the corner east to U.S. 281.

Additional rumble strips were also added on 30 Road.

As for the changes, “this will be an on-going thing,” McManaman said. “We will be working with them.”

At the concrete box location west of the county-owned memorial parks, 50 Road has a drop-off only two feet from the outside white line and close to the edge of the pavement. So, widening the box improves roadside safety by establishing a wider shoulder and moving the drop-offs at the ends of the box further from the driving lanes.

The two projects were among those received by 16 counties for a combined total of approximately $4.5 million in funding to improve safety as part of KDOT’s HRRR program. Counties sent in applications for this program from November 2018 to the end of January, with projects selected earlier this month with the funds available in Federal Fiscal Year 2021.

The commission approved the county’s participation in these projects in August.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Approved a three-party agreement for signing improvements at the intersection of North Washington Avenue and North 30 Road as well as widening the narrow concrete drainage structure on NW 50 Road east of NW 10 Avenue.

• Heard an update on county services from County Administrator Phil Hathcock.