The bridge on U.S. 50 that takes you over I-135 is closed in one direction for up to 30 days for repairs.
While the bridge is closed, U.S. 50 westbound traffic will be detoured north on U.S. 77 at the U.S. 50 and U.S. 77 junction at Florence, west on U.S. 56, south on K-15 and south on I-135 north of Newton.
Signs will advise people traveling westbound on U.S. 50 of the detour in advance.
However, businesses say the new deck KDOT is putting on the entrance to I-135 from U.S. 50 may be progress, but it comes at a price.
The Whistlestop Cafe in Walton has a lot of regulars, but they also rely on the U.S. 50 traffic.
“We do have quite a bit of locals, but we do rely on a good portion of the highway traffic,” said Kay Beasant, Whistlestop Cafe owner.
Kay recently bought the Whistlestop so a detour on the highway that removes their drive by traffic coming from the north is not what they call ideal to kickstart their business.
Traffic will be diverted all the way north at Florence, where cars and trucks will go north on U.S. 77 to U.S. 56. Then U.S. 56 through Marion and Hillsboro on to K-15, then south to access the interstate.
“We’ve been patching with our maintenance crews for several years, and it just got to the point where it was too much to handle so,” said Scott Koopmann, K-DOT engineer.
Scott says while the detour is an inconvenience the work has to be done.
Next door at the Hilltop convenience store, they will miss the drive-by traffic, hoping the locals will keep coming in.
“It’s almost easier for them to pull in here. Get what they want and get back on the road almost faster than what they can on the highway and pull into the truck stop,” said Twila VanRossun, Hilltop convenience store.
Twila said they will miss that traffic stopping by, but these businesses hope their focus on the customers they know will carry them through.
“I try to just keep them happy. I’ll check on them and see how everything is,” said Jacob Clark, Whistlestop cook.
Keep in mind you can still get onto U.S. 50 going east you just cant get back, unless you follow the detour at Florence.