My soap box on this road is well documented. The Star however should have used number of deaths that have occured in this corridor. Beyond the delay in traffic is the dangereous intersections. The worst intersection is Gregory Blvd and has had many high speed horrific collisions over the years. The key is to get the community leaders around that area to open the case back up and allow full blown interchanges.
I checked "Missouri Expressways" thread and could not find discussion about this June 15 info; apologies if it has already been discussed elsewhere. Recent "Bloody I-30" thread made me recall above comment and I started wondering if Bruce Watkins Drive was a "death zone". In an approximate 10-minute "KC Currents" broadcast, the interviewed MoDOT representative acknowledges that Watkins Drive has a much higher average number of "rear-enders" than other highways in Missouri, BUT, in terms of fatalities, the freeway north of 55th has the highest fatality rate. For this reason, it seems like MoDOT cannot approach the court for a "safety" exception to the court order:KCUR FM Audio - "No Change In Store For Controversial Bruce R. Watkins Drive"
KANSAS CITY, MO (kcur) - Tune in to the radio traffic reports any rush hour, and you're likely to hear one road name mentioned again and again. Highway 71, also known as Bruce R Watkins Drive, is known to cross-town commuters as one of the city's most accident-prone stretches of road. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, the stretch between 55th Street and Gregory averages 277 accidents per hundred million vehicle miles, higher than the state average of 170 accidents for similar roadway types.
To paraphrase the representative from the community when questioned about the "rear-ender" statisitcs, "If you don't want an accident; don't drive the road".
EDIT - EMAIL RESPONSE FROM KCSTAR WATCHDOG
Watchdog says she has been monitoring Watkins Drive and would like to know specifics of crashes. Her response:
Thank you for your interest in Watkins Drive. Over the years, we have monitored accidents there precisely because of the stop lights, but we have not developed an ironclad case that it is a death zone. The issue with the stop lights, of course, is that drivers on Watkins Drive are prone to rear-end crashes because they expect the freeway to continue and it doesn’t. The highway department did install warning lights to let people know of a red light ahead.
There was a recent horrific crash on Gregory Boulevard at Watkins Drive that killed a little boy. I suppose a case could be made that there would be no stoplight there on Gregory if it passed over Watkins Drive, but what happened could have happened at any intersection. The offending driver had PCP in his system.
However, I would appreciate a heads-up on what other accidents you found. I also will share your email with our transportation writer. The death zone idea is intriguing, whether it applies to Watkins or other stretches of roadway.
SECOND EDIT - 2008 MISSOURI TRAFFIC SAFETY COMPENDIUM
Looks like 2009 edition has not hit Web yet. Approx. 300 pages. Here's link: http://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/MSHPWeb/SAC/pdf/missouri2008TrafficSafetyCompendium.pdf