September 1, 2010
A rash of accidents has spurred change to a busy Kansas highway. Road crews are already making some adjustments to K-254, a highway many call hazardous. These changes come as an accident analysis on the roadway is set for release Thursday.
K-254 has seen many deadly crashes, and even more close calls. It was one of those close calls that still haunts Kim Roper.
"Oh it's the call no parent ever wants to get," said Roper.
Roper's son and his friend were in an accident at K-254 and River Valley Road.
"When you hear 254 you know it's bad," said Roper.
Both cars involved were totaled, but no one was seriously hurt.
"I thank God that they had angels with them, that it wasn't any worse," said Roper.
But it has been worse for many others. Just in August, three people died within a three day period on the same stretch of roadway. These accidents are part of the reason the state is taking action.
Already, the Department of Transportation has installed larger stop signs at some intersections including K-254 and Greenwich. That intersection was also the scene of a double fatality last month. Rumble strips and increased signage are also likely on the way.
"I think the ball is rolling. Strike while the iron's hot, is I think what we're after, and it is happening, it's going to happen," said Kansas Rep. John Grange of El Dorado.
Grange was at a forum about the highway Monday. He says it has spurred him to start discussion with the Secretary of Transportation about making changes not only to K-254, but also to future construction.
"It's going to cause us to look further down the road for funding these highways," said Grange.
It's something one mom is thankful for, as she still remembers the feeling of her son's close call.
"[It] just happens in a split second, it can just change everyone's lives," said Roper.
After last month's rash of accidents, the Department of Transportation launched an accident analysis on parts of K-254. That study is currently under final review. The Department says it expects to release the findings Thursday.