Archive for Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Baldwin Junction to become a four-way stop

July 11, 2006

By George Diepenbrock

The Kansas Department of Transportation has notified area officials that the agency will install a four-way stop at a notorious intersection south of Lawrence.

Baldwin Junction, 10 miles south of Lawrence on U.S. Highway 59, is already a two-way stop.

Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman said he received word of the change from KDOT on Monday.

"I typically try to avoid it. Just because of the number of accidents it's definitely something that I'm glad they've studied and warranted a change be made," Dingman said.

The junction of U.S. Highway 59 and U.S. Highway 56 -- known as the Baldwin Junction because of the veterinary clinic near there -- was the site of a deadly accident on April 29. At the request of a citizen, KDOT engineers were studying the safety of the junction even after a 2004 study declared it to be safe.

Two Spring Hill teens died after the driver pulled out from a stop sign on U.S. 56. Their car collided with a pickup truck that was driving north on U.S. 59, which at the time did not require drivers to stop at the junction.

Residents from the Baldwin area have complained that signs along U.S. 59 blocked the view of drivers trying to cross or turn from U.S. 56.

Dingman said KDOT told him the intersection would be transformed with new signs, rumble strips and warning lights in place before the end of this month.

The four-way stop will be a temporary measure until a new interchange is built there.

A $214.3 million plan is in the works to expand U.S. 59 to a four-lane freeway between Lawrence and Ottawa. Currently, the four-lane road is scheduled to open in Franklin County in 2009 and in Douglas County in 2011.

A KDOT spokesman was reportedly in a meeting this morning and unavailable for comment.

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