State transportation officials are looking at ways to improve safety along the US 24 corridor between Manhattan and Wamego.
One of the more dangerous intersections along the corridor is the Flush Road interchange, which had 15 crashes between January 1, 2017 and February 28 of this year. Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization Planning Manager Jared Tremblay shared a recent Kansas Department of Transportation restricted report regarding that intersection, which is not currently available for public viewing, with the Pottawatomie County Commission Monday. He says 14 of those 15 crashes occurred during daylight hours and in good weather.
Tremblay says K-DOT has considered several short and long-term options. A restricted crossing U-turn was floated as one possible solution, but Tremblay says a median U-turn was KDOT’s ultimate recommendation.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, in a Median U-Turn, traffic proceeds through, making a U-turn a short distance downstream before turning right back at the main intersection. A Restricted Crossing (or R-Cut) U-Turn requires drivers to turn right onto the main road and make a U-turn maneuver at a one-way median opening 400 to 1,000 feet after the intersection. Tremblay says these types of intersection safety enhancements are becoming more popular in other Midwestern states.
Tremblay says the total cost for constructing a median U-turn is estimated at $2 to $2.5 million, which is a small fraction of what it would cost to build a full interchange. However, there is no clear timeline yet that’s been set forward by KDOT.
According to KDOT, an average of 7,600 vehicles travel eastbound through the US 24/Flush Road intersection daily, while around 6,500 travel westbound. About 1,600 vehicles travel Flush Road heading south toward US 24 while just over 1,000 travel northbound through the intersection.
Monday’s presentation was strictly for informational purposes. The commission was not required to take any action.
A detailed explanation of Median U-Turns is shared below from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
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