OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Hundreds of people now owe the city of Overland Park money after a construction zone speeding crackdown Monday. Nearly two dozen officers worked to write 130 tickets and arrest 3 people during a three-hour time frame in the construction work zone off I-435 between I-35 and Nall Avenue.
That part of the interstate has been under construction for several weeks but the marked area hasn't been enough to slow drivers down. Officer John Lacy said, "Our top speed was 95 miles per hour. We had over 20 officers: 10 eastbound, 10 westbound."
Lacy said the cause for the crackdown comes from the community.
"We received several phone calls from motorists, people that are working on the highway, construction workers saying, 'Hey look, people aren’t slowing down,'" he explained.
Officers wrote the overwhelming number of tickets in just three short hours. They say that illustrates how lightly people are taking this issue, and that it's not about hitting a ticket quota for the month.
"That’s not the situation. We’ve received several phone calls. We’ve worked several accidents at that location," Officer Lacy said.
Bob Fry runs operations for Clarkson Construction, who is moving and replacing the concrete pavement for this project. At times, they have up to 75 people working that site.
"Cars have made it over the barrier before, close to where we’re working, it’s a big concern for us. Everybody's going to get through much better off if they handle the speed limit and don't try to race through it," Fry said.
Both men said if people will start paying attention, driving 55 miles per hour or below, and being a little more patient, things could run much more smoothly on the busy interstate.
"What’s the hurry? Slow down. That’s the message we’re trying to get out," Lacy said.
Lacy also enlisted the help of a famous driver to help spread that message in a tongue-in-cheek Twitter exchange. He Tweeted at NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, who responded.
The Kansas Department of Transportation said in the last two weeks, there have been 25 incidents on that stretch of I-435, including debris and stalled cars.
The construction is scheduled to wrap up in November, with closed lanes shifting as different phases of the project are completed.