Residents still push for traffic signal at Hastings intersection

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - After getting into a serious accident at a Hastings intersection, one resident wants the state to install a stop light.

Despite the city moving the reduced speed limit along Highway 281, some residents still want more done to increase safety at the 281/Lochland intersection. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)

Just a few weeks ago, the city reduced the speed limit from 70 mph to 55 mph along Highway 281 heading toward Hastings. They moved it about 500 yards north of where the reduced speed previously was near Lochland Road.

The Hastings City Council voted 8-0 in October to move the reduced speed after residents voiced concerns about the safety of the Highway 281/Lochland Road intersection. It's meant to increase safety, help with traffic flow and help prevent accidents.

But one woman who actually got into an accident at that intersection said the reduced speed limit isn't enough.

"It needs to have a stop light," said Virgene Knoedler. "That's all we need. Because look at all that traffic. It's going this way, and it's going that way. Two this way, two that way. It's just a dangerous intersection. It's just it has to be done. It's just going to get worse and worse and worse."

Back in July, Knoedler was driving south on Highway 281, when someone trying to turn onto the highway from Lochland Road crashed into her.

Knoedler, and her son, who was sitting in the passenger seat, had to go to the hospital. She had two cracked ribs, and wasn't released for two days.

"If there had been a stoplight there, I would have been going this way, and he would've had to stop at the stop light. So it wouldn't have affected him. The blind spot wouldn't have mattered because of the stop light," Knoedler said.

People who work at the businesses along Lochland Road echo the same sentiments. Some at the Hastings Surgical Center said they don't think anything's changed since the speed limit went down. They said they feel people drive faster than they're suppose to, and would still like to see a stop light at the intersection.

Mayor Corey Stutte, Hastings, said he hasn't received any feedback about the intersection since the reduced speed limit signs were moved. He said last they heard, people were pleased the speed limit was going down.