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Concerns for HWY 36 after fatal crash

Posted: 5:31 PM, Oct 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-23 07:24:25-04

Drivers are raising concerns about a stretch of highway in Douglas County where a man lost his life recently.

Highway 36 near Cunningham Lake between N. 84th St. and N. 96th St. looks like a 4 lane highway for some stretch but two lanes that were built in the 1970's have never been used.

At about 8pm on October 13, police say a truck heading eastbound crossed into the westbound lane and struck a car on Highway 36 near Cunningham Lake Park Road.  The driver of the car Joseph Daniels, 21, died at the scene and his passenger was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

The driver of the truck Tony Kenkel, 28, was booked for Motor Vehicle Homicide and DUI.  Police say his blood alcohol content was .091.

People who drive that stretch say it wouldn't be hard for someone in the westbound lanes to think that it is a 4 lane highway.

"I know there's other mitigating circumstances there but I've seen it before where there's a dump truck eastbound that got in an accident in that same area.  I'm not sure what can be done but I think there's got to be something that can be done to eliminate the confusion for drivers to know that's not a divided two lanes going one way and two lanes going the other," said David Hilger a concerned driver.

Hilger says he'd like to see reflective posts in the middle of the active lanes to keep people from passing on that stretch.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation says they have evaluated Highway 36 since the fatal crash, and say the adequate signage and pavement markings are in place for the needs of the road.  Drivers can't access the unused lanes on each end.

NDOT says there isn't a high volume of crashes there, and that people really need to pay attention so they don't cause a distracted driving crash.