Safety Concerns Prompt Road Closure

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

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

A half mile stretch along East 24th Street North is shut down after all other efforts to make the street safe failed.

"We checked traffic counts. We checked speeds. We put up signs. We had sheriffs go out there and monitor and try to give tickets and did all the things that reasonable people would do," said Dave Unruh, Sedgwick County Commissioner.

Since 2008, residents along the gravel side of 24th Street have voiced their concern about drivers speeding, including Ray Novak, who has lived there for 20 years.

"The reason we campaigned so hard for getting this closed off was that it seemed that nothing did any good to curb the speed, the riskiness that we saw going on. We've seen folks skid off of the road," said Novak.

The gravel road is supposed to be 30 miles per hour and belongs to the Minneha Township of Sedgwick County. The residents who live west of the closure are the ones paying township taxes to maintain that road.

Those who live east of the closure, in the subdivision of Monarch Landing, are part of Wichita and do not pay Minneha Township taxes.

"If everyone was driving at 30 miles per hour, I think we wouldn't have the problem. The real issue is people speeding too fast, including construction vehicles," said Unruh.

Some residents who live in Monarch Landing are afraid emergency crew will not have access to their subdivision.

According to County leaders, the rule is that subdivisions must have two separate points of access. Even with the 24th Street closure, the subdivision has two access points, that include 21st Street and 159th Street.

"We closed it primarily to respond to a safety concern of the residents that live along that road. In discussion with the township officials and the residents of the area and all the emergency folks, we thought that this was a reasonable solution," said Unruh.

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