A Safer Drive

By: Shelley Hansel
By: Shelley Hansel

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If you travel Highway 50 between Newton and Burrton, you'll be happy to know the state is trying to make you more safe. Highway workers just completed a project to install center line rumble strips from the west edge of Newton to the east side of Burrton on Highway 50.

You might recall there was a bad accident on Highway 50 last year that left 5 people dead. That accident brought a log of negative attention to Highway 50. The state says the highway doesn't deserve its dangerous reputation and with the new center line rumble strips, it may be one of the safest.

Wrecker driver Jon Ashcraft drives U.S. 50 between Newton and Hutchinson quite often. He thinks the rumble strips are a good way to make drivers more safe. This is the first long stretch of center line rumble strips that have been installed in Kansas. A few shorter patches of road have been used as test sections. Martin Miller with the Kansas Department of Education says they chose this stretch of U.S. 50 because it was already slated for some upgrades, not because it has more accidents.

"If through inattention or whatever reason they veer outside of their driving land, they will hear the rumble noise and vibration and will alert them that they're outside their driving lane," says Miller.

John Ashcraft realizes that if these center line rumble strips do the job and prevent accidents, it will be bad for business, but that's O.K. with him. He'd rather pull someone who's stuck in a ditch, than pick up the pieces of another deadly accident. K-Dot says they don't have plans to put the center line rumble strips anywhere else in Kansas, but other states have been installing them for a few years now.

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