11 a.m. Tuesday

Commissioners approved a pilot program to increase traffic safety at 21st and 167th West St. on Wednesday. It passed 4-1 with Commissioner Jim Howell voting against it. 

Howell believes there are other possible solutions not being considered at that intersection, plus there have been only three fatalities at that intersection in ten years.

 


Previous story:

COLWICH, Kan. (KAKE) - Over 10 years, the intersection here at 21st street and 167th in Northwest Sedgwick County has had at least 50 accidents, with three of them fatal.

It’s a problem that Colwich resident Carrie Patton has been concerned with for a while. 

“I'm through that intersection multiple times a day, I have teenage drivers, my co-workers are out here, my family's out here, our church families out here," said Patton. "People run that stop sign all the time.”

We first interviewed Carrie in January over these complaints and six months later, she says it's gotten somewhat better in part to some new signage and increased sheriff patrols but it isn’t perfect.

"There are so many close calls that is still makes me super nervous," Patton said.

Sedgwick County knows the intersection is a problem too.

“We've got to a point at this particular intersection that we've done everything that's in the book," said Public Works director Lynn Packer.

To address this, public works is proposing a new program to the Sedgwick county commission on Wednesday, called an Intersection Conflict Warning System (ICWS).

Packer said, “If it detects that there is traffic on 167th that is going to potentially conflict with the traffic on 21st street It alerts the drivers on 21st street with variable flashing signs."

Public works says this would be only the second intersection in the state of Kansas with ICWS. After trying expanded lights and reflectors at the site, Packer thinks this new program may be their best shot to get the intersection under control.

“If there's nothing for the 21st street traffic to worry about, you don't have any lights that are going on but it's only those times when it, when it detects that there's a kind of conflict of traffic, it'll flash.”

He adds that beyond the potential new safety additions, drivers can also help out with this problem.

"We have 3,000 cars a day on 167th, 5,000 cars a day on 21st Street. All that traffic you're just rolling the dice on when there's going to be an accident, you know," said Packer. "Slow down, pay attention and when there's a stop sign, just come to a stop."

Patton says that she would still prefer a four way stop light for the intersection but is appreciative that the county trying to do something.

“Our ultimate goal is to save lives and if you know, it does get someone's attention and it does save a life then that's great," explained Patton.

The county commission will vote on adding the new system to it’s capital improvement plan Wednesday.

Public works is also looking at options to build a roundabout at that intersection later this decade.