OLATHE, Kan. — Monday’s wet weather caused some major issues on Kansas roadways.
Olathe police says three adults and two children were injured in a crash on Interstate 35, blaming road conditions for the wrecks.
Drivers says it’s not uncommon to see standing water on I-35, especially headed south from Kansas City, Kansas.
It didn’t help that it was historic rainfall. The National Weather Service said 2023, through the first two days of the year, was the third wettest on the 135 year record.
Olathe police said the crash happened as the roads were hit quickly by an inch of rain. Pooling water in key spots on I-35 is nothing new. From the FOX4 archive, we found this water rescue at I-35 and Lamar from 2017.
“I’ve never been in a situation like this before. I’ve from California so I’ve never been like this before. It was really bad. It was cool once we got to the side and everything but the water was up to my chest and I had to swim across. Good thing I could swim,” the rescued driver said.
Tony Jackson is a truck driver with the interstate on his route. He said the wrecks could be reduced if people slowed down because he has witnessed the damage caused by hydroplaning.
“Every inch of water can lighten your load about 500 pounds. So four inches of water can probably float, will float, a small car,” Jackson said. “People littering, getting drains stopped up mostly. It’s mostly litter and leaves and rubbish and stuff stopping up the drains,” Jackson said.
The Kansas Department of Transportation provided this statement to FOX4 following Monday’s weather:
“KDOT is aware pooling issues can occur across the KC metro area during heavy rains as experienced Monday. Roadway design elements are such that water drains at different rates depending on the slope and grade of the road and the intensity of the rain event.”
“When driving in a metropolitan area where water may have to transition across numerous lanes, motorists should recognize there is an elevated risk of hydroplaning and modify driving behavior, while also keeping watch for those who may not make any necessary adjustments. KDOT advises motorists to drive for conditions.”
“As part of a metro roadway system with multiple lanes, there are many slope transitions in the grade of the roadway, and inherent draining challenges exist. While there is no physical option other than these slope transitions, KDOT monitors conditions on all roadways for function and potential improvements.”