Kansas Turnpike says tornado shelters open to patrons
By Peter Samuel
Weather forecasts suggest wild weather is likely in Kansas toward the end of the week and the possibility of tornadoes. A spokesman told us they want drivers to know the Turnpike's shelters are available for their safety if they happen to be at a service plaza or a toll plaza when a twister threatens.
All Kansas Turnpike facilities have shelters of one kind or another. They range from reinforced toilet rooms and interior storage rooms to basements and real underground bunkers with steel doors. Only the shelters at the six service plazas were really designed for use of the general public and they hold 30 people.
Toll plazas have shelters built mostly with plaza staff in mind and are smaller but most will shelter 10 to 20 people. The public are being told to join staff in these shelters if dangerous weather develops.
Staff are under instructions to give up toll collection in dangerous weather and seek shelter.
"Patrons are urged to join staff in the shelters. We don't want them waiting to pay if it's getting dangerous. Staff will post a notice that toll collection has ceased and they should go to the shelter," a spokesman says.
Another additional Turnpike service to motorists! None of Kansas DOT interstates have shelters.
Motorists caught in the open are warned not to seek shelter under overpasses or bridges because wind effects can be magnified there and dangerous flying debris can be worse. And not to stay in your car but to look for open ground and a ditch or depression and lay flat face down.