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Local

Heated discussion follows street safety request

County supervisor wants warning on Kilduff corner

Jasper County Engineer Russ Stutt discusses the possible addition of a light at the Killduff corner on 
Highway T22S with the Jasper County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Jasper County Engineer Russ Stutt discusses the possible addition of a light at the Killduff corner on Highway T22S with the Jasper County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Jasper County Supervisor Doug Cupples made a plea during Tuesday’s regular board meeting to place a warning light at well-known corner in Killduff. Located on Highway T22S, the corner angles around the town near the city’s tee-ball field.

“I want to make it clear, on this Killduff corner thing, personally I would like to make an amendment that you take action and put that light out there so it is a pre-warning to that corner,” Cupples said.

Cupples proposed an amendment to Tuesday’s agenda to discuss the addition at the street corner, which resulted in asking Jasper County Engineer Russ Stutt to explore options for a solution. He said he spoke to Stutt prior to the meeting about placing a light at the corner while Stutt suggested putting it in a different location.

“I suggested the possibility of placing an advanced warning beacon either on the curve sign or the 35 mph speed limit sign,” Stutt said. “I think the biggest factor in that area is speeding or people not paying attention. There are so many signs there already, I don’t know how people miss it.”

Cupples said he didn’t disagree with Stutt that speed and other factors are a problem but reiterated the corner is a problem, people are missing it and it’s becoming dangerous.

Assistant to the county engineer Pam Olson posed a question to Cupples and the board asking if the board is0 prepared to put additional warning notifications all over the county. Cupples responded by citing a car accident near Kellogg that killed Newton student Trenton Brady as a reason to address the issue.

“The reality is, the stop sign is the same as this. For years that grandpa asked they put a stop sign there and then his grandson dies,” Cupples said. “The last thing I want to do is be responsible for someone dying. It is a lot more important to me.”

Olson brought up the “human factor” in driving along with the possible county liability should a light be placed at the corner.

“I have been around for 38 years, there have had a couple of incidents the last couple years, but we have told a lot of people through this county, because of the expense it would cost this county, ‘no on these lights,’” Olson said. “If the light isn’t (functioning) there, you do now have the liability, once you put the light there, if it burns out.”

Supervisor Joe Brock said it has not typically been the practice of the board to give instruction to the county engineer on where to put signs.

“I think it is important that I have been here for seven years, and it hasn’t been the practice to just willy-nilly give instructions to the county engineer where to put signs and where not to,” Brock said. “There needs to be criteria, there is a method to the madness.”

During his seven years, Brock said he has been asked countless times to add signs and lights throughout the county.

“On Highway 163, they want lights to light up all of the intersections, if I said yes to every one of them and acknowledged the danger in every one of them, I don’t think I would ever get done,” Brock said.

Human resources director Dennis Simon spoke about the county’s liability should a sign or light be damaged or placed out of use. According to Simon, until the county has actual notification of the issue, it has a little bit of a defense. He applauded the work of the engineer’s department and the county sign crew for working diligently to replace or repair any signs or lights quickly if they are out of use.

The issue will again be addressed at the Jasper County Supervisors meeting at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 17.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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