Residents spoke up and Sedgwick County officials listened. Safety improvements are coming to the intersection at 71st Street South and 135th Street West near Clearwater.
A crash earlier this month that sent nine people to the hospital at the intersection inspired city and county officials to meet with residents last week. Around 40 people showed up, some sharing emotional testimony about the dangers of that intersection.
Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell attended the meeting and tells KSN news the county is taking swift action.
“We’re wasting no time getting this solved,” O’Donnell said.
The county is taking a three-step approach. The first step is increasing patrol by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office in the area, which is already underway.
“Enhanced patrol has resulted in quite a few speeding tickets and other violations which is a good thing because not only in this last accident but others, not only were the drivers innatentavely driving but they were speeding as well, which compounded the problem substantially,” O’Donnell said.
The second step is trimming back trees near the intersection which obstruct visibility.
The third step, which is expected to take place over the next three weeks, is the installation of rumble strips in the road.
“Many individuals came up and said if we could just have rumble strips, that would alert people. Their car is going to shake, they’re going to have that audible sound of the rumble strips,” O’Donnell said.
Clearwater resident Steffanie Comer was one of the speakers at last week’s meeting. She says she’s glad to feel heard.
“I’m glad to see they did it very quickly. I really expected the process to take longer,” Comer said.
O’Donnell said data shows the road is very busy, especially for a county road.
But one danger will be up to citizens to address.
“Nothing is going to stop accidents if people are continuously on their cell phones or not paying attention to the road. There’s nothing the government can do for that,” O’Donnell said.