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U.S. 56/77 junction rated most dangerous

Roundabout is possible

News editor

The intersection of U.S. 56, U.S. 77, and K-150 highways near Marion is the most dangerous intersection in Kansas as determined by crash frequency and crash severity, according to a study of accidents from 2007 through 2009.

Kansas Department of Transportation conducted the study to meet Federal Highway Safety Administration requirements.

During the time covered by the study, 2,635 intersections had fatality or permanently disabling injury accidents, State Highway Safety Engineer Steven Buckley said Tuesday. The department examined the top 5 percent of those intersections, ranking them according to crash severity, crash frequency, and a complicated formula the department uses to rank road projects. The intersection east of Marion ranked first, first, and second on those criteria, respectively.

“It scored very high, at the top of our list,” Buckley said.

The intersection has been on KDOT’s radar for a while, and he anticipates a decision on what to do in a matter of months. Buckley was cautious about saying too much, because he won’t be the decision-maker, but he knows a roundabout is one possibility under consideration.

Construction of a roundabout would take considerable time, he said.

Gene Winkler has seen quite a few accidents at the intersection in his time as a volunteer emergency medical technician, and he began circulating a petition urging construction of a roundabout after an accident Nov. 16 killed 23-year-old Sai Ramanadham of Warrensburg, Mo.

Winkler was happy to hear KDOT was seriously considering building a roundabout at the highway junction.

“That’s great,” Winkler said. “That’s something I think needs to be done.”

Last modified Jan. 18, 2012

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