Speed was not cited as a factor in the recent fatality accident on US-56 at Ash St., but Hillsboro mayor Deloris Dalke has been concerned about highway speeds for a long time.
Speed combines with another issues Dalke believes is important.
“I believe the traffic is getting heavier on US-56 all the time,” she said.
Her constituents have voiced the same concerns to her, and Dalke has contacted the Kansas Department of Transportation more than once to advocate for slower speed limits.
“Since the road has been there I’ve had people approach me,” Dalke said. “Most of it has been to get the speed limit reduced. That’s why I’ve contacted KDOT in the past, because I was asked to.”
She hasn’t met with any success.
“When I talked to KDOT at one point, they said to me that the highway was put out here to be a bypass to let traffic go around Hillsboro and Marion,” Dalke said. “If they started letting the speed limit be reduced or let more turnoffs be put in, then it would slow traffic down again, and they would have to build another bypass.”
Dalke said it was hard to find the logic in their reasoning, and the same held true for the response KDOT gave to a letter she wrote.
“The response I received from them was there hadn’t been enough fatalities out here to reduce the speed limit,” she said.
Dalke said the future location of Hillsboro Community Hospital, and now Walmart Neighborhood Market, will create even more traffic and more potential hazards for turning vehicles.
“We’re going to have to do something,” Dalke said. “As those traffic counts continue to go up, and speed is higher than it was at one time, I’m afraid there will be more accidents. Some of them are due to speed, some of them are due to inattention. But we have to do something.”
The city has tried to get additional turnoff lanes installed, and Adams St. intersection has been approved, with construction beginning in the spring, Dalke said.
“We have already asked for ones on the corner with Industrial Rd. because of all the truck traffic that goes in and out of there,” she said. “There’s no way for them to get on and off without pulling into fast traffic. We have several areas we feel need to have turnoff lanes.”
And how will Dalke approach KDOT about these requests?
“I will write them another letter,” she said.