Holton students want to make Highway 75 safer following fatal crashes

Local News

Several deadly crashes in the last two years are prompting local high school students to make change tonight and it all has to do with one highway.

Governor Laura Kelly has intentions to make Highway 75, which is currently a two lane highway north of Holton, into a four lane highway.

But until then, the Jackson Heights student council is gathering signatures on a petition they hope will lead to immediate changes.

“Mr. Hesed our school counselor walked in and I knew something, right away, something had happened,” said student Kylie Dohl.

Kylie Dohl and her basketball team are headed for state tomorrow. 

But it was just over two years ago that Dohl heard about the passing of her friend, right before one of her basketball games.  

Ed Mandala is the president of student council.

“So in just that one short, little section of the highway that goes all the way up to Omaha there’s been five just there since 2017,” said Mandala. 

He’s working with students from eight schools in Jackson, Brown and Nemaha counties to figure out how to make Highway 75 safer from Holton all the way north to the Nebraska state line.

“But if that’s going to be year 10, we want something to be done almost as soon as possible to make things safer in the meantime, because if it’s in year 10, that is 9 more years where people could get hurt or killed on that highway,” said Mandala. 

They’re asking for funding from the state government to allow KDOT to install lights, add or extend turning lanes and increase monitoring of traffic.

Student council sponsor Katie Morris grew up in Holton and her family knows that this stretch of highway has had it’s share of wrecks along it.

“When I told my parents that I was hired at Jackson Heights, my dad told me to take the old highway home from school and don’t turn left onto Highway 75,” said Morris. 

Mandala is hoping to represent student council at the State Capitol and present Gov. Kelly with the petition over spring break. 

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