March 27, 2019
Sedgwick County officials on Wednesday, March 20 met with citizens about traffic safety concerns at the intersection of 135th St. W. and 71st St. S. County representatives included Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell, County Chairman David Dennis, and County Manager Tom Stolz along with key staff from the Sherriff's Office and Public Works.
Here are steps Sedgwick County officials are taking to improve the safety of the intersection:
• The Sheriff's Office has stepped up enforcement.
• Public Works crews will remove the trees on the northeast corner of the intersection, a priority project. Removing the trees from the edge of the right-of way will improve sight distance.
• Also, there are plans to install rumble strips on both legs of 71st St. South to provide tactile and audible warnings for the stop signs.
The improvements should be completed within the next two to three weeks.
Clearwater Mayor Burt Ussery hosted the meeting, which was held at Clearwater Middle School. The meeting was prompted by a recent two-vehicle crash that injured nine people at the intersection. Local residents who attended the meeting expressed their concerns about traffic enforcement in the area and the operational safety of the intersection.
They generally commented that there should be additional traffic enforcement in the area and that additional safety features should be added to the intersection. A number of people spoke in support of rumble strips and/or stop signs with flashing LED lights in each corner. Several noted a potential sight distance problem due to trees on the northeast corner of the intersection.
The two-car crash remains under investigation by the Sherriff s Office. Public Works is in the process of completing a post-crash review of the intersection. At the meeting, the Sherriffs Office reported that the eastbound driver on 71st St. did not stop for the intersection and collided with the vehicle on 135th St. Sheriffs Office officials noted that distracted driving is a major safety issue and that they are working on the problem with an education program, enforcement mapping and state-of-the-art tools such as intelligence led policing. Public Works found that the intersection is properly signed with 48-inch stop signs, 12-inch flashing red beacons and warning signs in advance of the intersection.
Michael O'Donnell, II Commissioner - Second District