It has been a section of roadway motorists have been traveling with more caution as of late. The stretch coming into town on Highway 160 near Walmart and McDonald’s has seen several accidents in recent months. One of them, just last month, involved an officer being injured while working another accident in that same area.
In response to citizens’ concerns about this stretch, we contacted Deb Gruver, the Public Affairs Manager for the District 5 South Central Kansas office, who answered that , “KDOT conducted a traffic study of U.S. 160 in that area this past summer. That stretch of highway serves Wellington High School, a Walmart, a McDonald’s and other businesses, and will serve the new campus. The study analyzed this area’s traffic volume, vehicle speeds, and accident data. From the study, KDOT recommended reducing the posted speed limit between Casey’s east access road 400 feet west of Crusader Drive and Boundary Road from 50 mph to 45 mph. It was also recommended to reduce the posted speed limit from Boundary Road to Meridian Road from 55 mph to 50 mph. These changes have been in effect since last summer. KDOT is currently working with the City of Wellington to determine how the anticipated increase in traffic from the college and other new developments may impact U.S. 160 in this area.”
Public Works Director Jeremy Jones goes on to say, “As has been the history, city officials continue to work with KDOT concerning the safety of travelers on East US-160. I spoke with the Area Three Engineer a few weeks ago concerning the most recent accident.” Jones goes on to confirm the details of the study that Gruver revealed. He adds, “The results were that we lack required warrants at both intersections for the placement of a traffic signal. The warrants, or criteria, that are required have to do with average daily traffic totals, peak hour traffic, turning movements, accidents and fatalities. Within the four years noted, Boundary experienced three accidents and Williams had six, the majority of which caused by stopped vehicles entering the highway in front of oncoming traffic. These numbers are below both statewide averages and warrant requirements for a traffic signal. The study did however recommend reducing the speed limit at two locations by 5 MPH, which was done immediately following receiving the report.
That being said, the Area Three Engineer will contact his superiors to request looking at this stretch of highway again, utilizing crash data from 2017 along with the previous four years in the study.”