What’s going on at the roundabout?
Rash of truck accidents has officials scrambling for answers
A military transport flatbed carrying a large road scraper turned over Sunday at the US-56/77/K-150 roundabout east of Marion, the fourth accident involving a truck this year.
“We’re baffled right now, we really are,” said Joe Palic with the Marion office of the Department of Transportation. “It’s been good for two years; maybe it’s just an anomaly.”
Several military transport vehicles from 242 Engineer Company of a Kansas National Guard unit based in Coffeyville arrived at the roundabout shortly before 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
A light equipment transport unit pulling a flatbed trailer with a road scraper was rounding the southwest corner of the roundabout when the trailer and scraper overturned.
A volunteer firefighter discovered the accident and notified dispatchers, who sent Marion fire and sheriff’s deputies to the scene.
Firefighters cleaned diesel fuel leaking from the scraper from the roadway, and contaminated dirt was removed Monday.
Traffic was diverted onto the diamond lanes surrounding the roundabout as emergency responders and military personnel waited hours before equipment arrived that was used to right the trailer and scraper. The equipment was moved to the southwest diamond roadway, where it remained overnight before being removed.
Another minor incident occurred when a departing transport hit a light pole which fell over.
“We’ve lost four light poles with the accidents,” Palic said. “The bases are called frangible bases. If you hit the light, the base shatters and the light comes down. In this case, the pole was damaged, so we’ll have to put in a new pole.”
Meanwhile, Palic is at a loss to explain the recent spate of truck accidents.
“I was hoping we’d seen the end of them,” he said. “When they keep happening, then you begin to wonder.”
Palic said the department is studying the accidents.
“We’re looking for patterns, we’re trying to figure out why it’s happening,” he said. “Is it something in the design of the roundabout, or is it truly one of those spikes of a rash of unusual accidents. The roundabout has been functioning very well.”
Palic said he welcomes any information from the public that might shed light on the issue.
“People may notice things we don’t,” he said, “but we’ve not gotten any reports of that.”
Last modified March 8, 2018