New Construction Along K-96 Highway Median

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Generally drivers won't see lane blockage or closures with this project," said Tom Hein, KDOT in Wichita.

The highway stretch on K-96 from I-135 to Rock Road will get some construction workers on it, for the next few months, to build a cable median barrier, similar to those in neighboring states.

"The goal of any median barrier is to prevent cross over accidents. That's what we're looking for on this piece of K-96. These cables will prevent, we hope, they will prevent anymore cross over accidents," said Hein.

The cable median barriers are an alternative to concrete barriers that require more time and planning. The cable median barrier along K-96 will be the first of two projects in the state of Kansas.

"We're new to this in Kansas. Generally, we build our medians much wider which gives an opportunity for a driver to correct that error," said Hein.

After a 2009 study, the Kansas Department of Transportation identified the four mile stretch on K-96, as well as a mile long section on US-75, north of Topeka, as candidates for these cable median barriers.

"K-96 has had some crossover crashes so that raised it to the top, I think, as well as how skinny that median is on K-96," said Hein.

A double fatal crash that involved a vehicle crossing over the median last month on K-10 has prompted a mayor to write to the governor in request for these cable barriers.

"They were both happen to be Eudora residents. The mayor was part of a group of people who would like to see KDOT install cable median barriers," said Steve Swartz, KDOT in Topeka.

KDOT will begin a study this year to evaluate where other barriers may be needed.

"I'm sure we will be evaluating other highways in Kansas and pick new projects as we get further in to this," said Hein.

Officials expect minimal impact on traffic along K-96. There will be times when lanes adjacent to the median maybe closed between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The project should be completed by late September.

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