Casinos Dramatically Increase Highway Traffic

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A crash that killed two people is raising questions about the stretch of roadway where it happened, but authorities say it's a matter of inattentive driving.

Tuesday night's crash happened just south of the Oklahoma-Kansas state border. That's also where thousands of people pour in to visit two casinos each weekend.

"Friday, Saturday nights you come down, see bumper-to-bumper down there on the Oklahoma-Kansas border," said Arkansas City Resident Dee Dee Moore.

"I'm just extra careful because of people that have had accidents down there," said Arkansas City Resident Cheryl Wilson.

Even though Tuesday's crash happened just north of the casinos, authorities haven't linked it to casino traffic. The cause of the crash was failure to yield at a stop sign.

Highway patrol also says the casinos aren't necessarily to blame for recent accidents in Kansas.

"I can't blame it completely on the casinos. It could be that people just aren't paying attention when they come out of there," said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Grunder.

But troopers say there's no denying business at the casinos is increasing traffic on the roadway. That's why Kansas Highway Patrol is also increasing enforcement.

"I think it is helping keep the accident rate down in Kansas," said Grunder.

Those who live down the road agree, it's the violations causing the crashes, even if those violators are the same people crowding the roadway to get to the casino.

"It can be safe, you just need to slow down and pay attention," said Moore.

Local residents also say the traffic has had it's advantages, as it has boosted economic development in the area.


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