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MoDOT to meet with city about intersetction

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

A traffic study developed by Platte City Police Chief Joe McHale is being used by city officials in an effort to place a dangerous intersection on Missouri Department of Transportation’s radar screen.

Platte City Mayor Dave Brooks asked McHale to prepare the study after he addressed the board of aldermen in general discussion regarding his concerns for the safety of the intersection of 92 Hwy and Marshall Road in an Oct. 11 meeting.

As reported in the Landmark, during that meeting Brooks stated, “We’re going to have a horrible accident up there someday and a lot of people are going to be killed.”

Brooks referenced how he had recently driven to Cash Saver and parked to watch the traffic that travels through the intersection on a daily basis.

He mentioned his concern of how cars and trucks pop over the hill and for the vehicles turning off Marshall and by the post office it’s difficult to see traffic until they’re at the top of the hill. Discussion was also held on how westbound Hwy 92 reduces from two lanes to one lane at the intersection of Marshall.

Those concerns addressed by Brooks, were also documented by McHale in his traffic study that was presented to the board of aldermen and will be given to MoDOT.

“The intersection is considered a hazardous location due to the four lane to two lane merge with the westbound traffic. The merge at this location poses the greatest risk to the motoring public,” said McHale in the traffic study.

According to the study, the westbound speed limit is 45 mph until Prairie View Road where the speed limit decreases to 35 mph. McHale sited that his police department conducts constant speed enforcement with the majority of traffic speeding citations being written on Missouri 92 Hwy between NW Prairie View Road and Marshall Road.

“The significant factors in the risk associated with this intersection are excessive speed, abrupt lane merge, and turn lane configuration. Additional causative factors are inclement weather and wet streets, as well as darkness.”

In 2004, there were four vehicular accidents at the intersection with two of those accidents involving minor injuries.

From January to October 2005, there have been three vehicular accidents at that location resulting in two minor injuries. Two accidents included rear end collisions, with the other accident a right angle collision with a vehicle.

“Two of the three accidents are noteworthy as they involved a rear end collision. Westbound vehicles struck the rear of a vehicle turning left at the intersection. Driver inattention and speed were causative factors in these accidents,” reported the study.

McHale told The Landmark that the greatest danger at that intersection is the driver.

“The greatest danger in that intersection is the actual driver,” he said. “The driver’s inattention and speed are the greatest dangers in that intersection.”

According to McHale, in his opinion the city and MoDOT need to look at three proposals ranging from short term to long term solutions for the intersection.

“There are three proposals you need to look at. First is the immediate, which is sign placement,” said McHale. “The main area of threat is westbound 92 Hwy at Marshall Road. The danger lies in that the turn lane ends abruptly and there is not sufficient warning to allow people to merge to the left.

“There needs to be additional speed signs in both directions on 92 Hwy and we will continue to enforce the speed limit that changes from 45 to 35 westbound in front of the high school.”

The second recommendation would allow MoDOT to conduct a traffic study, observe the intersection and consider putting a traffic light at that intersection, according to McHale.

Finally, McHale suggested a long range suggestion that includes the reconfiguration of the intersection to add an additional lane for east and west Missouri 92 Highway.

“I believe the first recommendation is fairly simplistic and can be achieved in no time. The second recommendation is more costly and will certainly need a study by MoDOT. The last recommendation is a long term project,” said McHale, stating he believes the long term project may be able to be achieved in five years or more.

“I believe it is an intersection that needs to be looked at by MoDOT and there needs to be an in-depth study that needs to be performed before anything’s done,” stated McHale.

While the chief recognizes the need to address the issues at 92 Hwy and Marshall Road, he also feels the safety of the intersection is held in the hands of drivers who travel that stretch of roadway each day.

“I firmly believe the intersection needs some work but I also state that people need to slow down and pay attention, especially in the early morning hours when they are going to work,” stated McHale.

Brooks, along with City Administrator Keith Moody, MoDOT District Engineer Beth Wright and Area Engineer Cristin Munck will meet at 9 a.m., Nov. 17 at city hall to discuss the dangers of 92 and Marshall as well as contributions MoDOT may be able to make to the project.

“(The mayor) asked us to take a look at the intersection because I believe he’s concerned with some of the geometrics,” said Wright.

“In the meantime we’ll look at the accident history to see if there’s something that’s consistent which comes up that people are having issues with that intersection, as well as lane configuration and if it’s causing people problems, see if there’s something we can do to help people drive through that area.”

Wright said she is unsure if MoDOT would have funds available for the project.

“It would have to compete with other projects that need attention in the district and there are eight counties in the district,” she said.


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