Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter has been very vocal about the intersection of 21st North and 167th West.
“I know that it’s a two-way stop there,” says Easter. “Has been for years. That’s why there needs to be a traffic study. A lot of times traffic lights are installed because there is a lot of traffic going through there.”
With two-way stop signs and a flashing yellow light for cross traffic, Easter wonders if a full stoplight system would make sense.
“The study needs to take place,” says Easter. “The traffic engineer needs to deem what is necessary for that particular intersection.”
County leaders confirm there is a study. There is also an investigation into the intersection by county engineers.
“They do an internal investigation. Look at skid marks and look for evidence to support what happened,” says Jim Howell, Sedgwick County Commissioner. “They are educated at how to do these investigations. They are very, very good at analyzing traffic accidents and writing down all of the data.”
Howell says it’s data that has led to the traffic signs and flashing lights at the intersection today.
But, with the loss of life, Howell says the county will take a close look at what else could be done.
“What we have in place now at the intersection exceeds the recommendation for warrant guidelines for the amount of traffic at this intersection coupled with the number of accidents and fatalities,” says Howell.
Howell says there are national guidelines that are followed to determine what an intersection should have in place for traffic controls.
But, he adds, the county is doing the full investigation to see what could or should come next. The next step for an upgrade, if warranted, could be a full traffic light system.
“It’s not like we’re being cheap. We’re trying to make it so the traveling public can get around as efficiently as possible and have a reasonable amount of safety in the process of getting around,” says Howell. “There’s a balance there.”
Howell says the community’s thoughts and prayers go out to the family. And says the county will consider options and come up with the best solution.
County engineers will meet with Sheriff Easter and county planners Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. to go over the process of how the county makes decisions on intersection traffic controls.