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K-DOT plans construction project to improve safety on K-99 in Chautauqua County

Published: Sep. 5, 2019 at 3:41 PM CDT
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A problematic stretch of highway in Chautauqua County is getting attention many in the area say is long over due.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says it will take bids this fall with plans for construction to start next spring on improvements to Highway 99.

Those who travel along the highway say

In doing so, crews will construct slopes in the shoulder area around Quivera Road and the K-99 intersection.

K-DOT doesn't yet have a timeline for how long the work could take.

In May, K-DOT began looking at crash statistics from the area and other factors to determine what needs to change on Highway 99.

K-DOT announced its plan to conduct a safety analysis on the highway a day after a box truck rolled off the dangerous stretch in Chautauqua County.

An 18-year-old Andover woman and a man from Eureka Springs, Ark. died in separate crashes on the highway, just nine days apart.

Ahead of that safety analysis, Chautauqua County Sheriff Richard Newby said he always fears for the worst when his crews are dispatched to Highway 99 in response to a crash.

Newby says there have been dozens of accidents mostly due to that steep drop-off in the same area of K-99 for years.

Dale Godfrey knows all about it. She and her husband were driving their 18-wheeler when their tire dropped off, sending them into the ditch.

"It's going to end more careers and more lives until they fix it," Godfrey says.

Last week, a semi crashed at site of the drop-off. this time, the driver wasn't hurt. Crews have responded here countless times, asking K-DOT to make it safer.

"If we are having this high number of accidents that are happening in the same spot, in the same direction... The road is narrow, there is an 18-inch drop-off. People can blame cell phones and they could blame faulty vehicles, whatever; but the reality is, there has to be a problem," Newby says.

Newby says K-DOT's plan to address the issue is a relief.

"It's a burden on our entire community," he says.

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