KDOT school plan pleases BESIC’s Mundinger
Tom Mundinger was pleased with the Kansas Department of Transportation's answer for speed limits on U.S. Highway 56. So was Jeff Dingman.
KDOT officials met with Mundinger, principal of Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center that fronts U.S. 56, Supt. Paul Dorathy, City Administrator Dingman and Utility Director Bill Winegar on Thursday. The topic was the outcry KDOT caused when it announced two weeks ago that the speed limit on all of U.S. 56 would be raised from 55 to 60 mph.
Two days after the announcement, KDOT was backtracking. A week later it was announced that the speed limit wouldn't be raised until school zones here, Overbrook and Allen were addressed.
"The KDOT representatives were very accommodating," said Mundinger. "They came across to me as very much wanting to resolve this situation to everyone's satisfaction. It was a very positive discussion."
Likewise, Mundinger was pleased with KDOT's answers.
"Their solution is significantly more signage along the highway in front of the school," he said. "This would include a single flashing light warning of a reduced school zone speed when flashing and followed by a double flashing light indicating 45 mph when flashing.
"It would flash during our morning drop-off and again during our afternoon pick-up," said Mundinger. "Approximate times would be 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. Timeline is hopefully this fall, but could take as long as six months. They guaranteed that the speed limit would not be raised until the signage was in place."
KDOT will also be picking up the cost associated with the signage.
"In my opinion, this is the best case scenario as I believe it will be safer than our current situation even after the speed limit is raised to 60," Mundinger said of the entire plan.
It isn't complete yet as KDOT has taken under advisement the sight related problems caused by the hill to the west of the school.
"There were discussions as to the intersection at the top of the hill," he said. "It was the city and school district's position the initial sign should appear before the intersection and hill. There isn't their typical distance, but they were going to take that under advisement and look at it again."
Dingman liked what he heard, too.
"It did go well," said Dingman. "They have a design already planned, they just need to fine tune it for that specific location. They're ready to do it and pay for the needed signs and markings. All we needed to tell them was 'thanks and please hurry.'"