Downtown KCK area preparing for two-year westbound viaduct shutdown

Downtown Kansas City, Kansas, is preparing for a two-year shutdown of the westbound Lewis and Clark Viaduct.

Kansas Department of Transportation officials have announced some temporary closures to start tonight, while the permanent closure will begin Feb. 4. The viaduct connects Kansas City, Missouri, to Kansas City, Kansas.

“We’re quite aware that downtown may be hard to reach for some folks who are not used to coming from Kansas City, Missouri, to Kansas City, Kansas,” said Chuck Schlittler, director of the Downtown Shareholders of Kansas City, Kansas. “So we’ll do a survey, to see what impact there is.”

The Downtown Shareholders plan to conduct a survey of businesses in about a week or so to see if there has been any effect from the viaduct shutdown, he said.

The Downtown Shareholders handed out information to many businesses downtown on Wednesday, he said. They have been in contact with the engineers for the project, as well as the Missouri Department of Transportation and Kansas Department of Transportation, and have been in touch with the Unified Government Public Works Department about detour signage, he said.

The detour route is expected to empty onto Central Avenue, and there will be street signs and electronic signs to show a detour route from Central to 7th Street, 7th north to Minnesota Avenue, and the east, he said.

Also, KDOT and MoDOT are sending updated smart phone map information with detour information for those who will be using GPS systems, he said.

“We’ve been in touch with the folks overseeing the project, and steps are being taken to mitigate it as much as possible,” Schlittler said.

He said he hopes, with the cooperation of the weather, that the project might be finished early.

Some downtown businesses such as the Hilton Garden Inn and establishments such as Breit’s might be affected by the viaduct closure. There might be some activities such as roller derby competitions at Memorial Hall that might be affected also, he said. The survey will find how much other businesses may be affected, he added.

Schlittler said he expected that people who live in Kansas City, Kansas, and work in Kansas City, Missouri, will be able to find their way back home without too many problems; it’s just people who may not often come to Kansas City,Kansas, from Kansas City, Missouri, who may have difficulties.

Details from KDOT about the viaduct closure:

Temporary closures will begin tonight to install traffic control signs for the reconstruction of the westbound I-70 bridge. The full two-year closure will begin Feb. 4.

Temporary closures:
• 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, to 5 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2: I-35 northbound will have intermittent lane closures from 17th St. to I-70 (in Missouri) to place overhead sign placards.

• 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, to 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 4: I-70 westbound will be closed from past Admiral Boulevard (in Missouri northeast corner of the downtown loop) to 3rd Street in Kansas City, Kansas, to place traffic control for the long-term closure past Broadway. This closure will include all ramps on or off the interstate between those points.

Permanent closures:
• 5 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, to a tentative date of Dec. 31, 2019: I-70 westbound will be closed past Broadway Blvd. (in Missouri northwest corner of the downtown loop) to 3rdSt. in Kansas City, Kansas.

• Ramps from Broadway Boulevard, Beardsley Road and I-35 to I-70 westbound (in Missouri) will be closed.

• Ramps from I-70 westbound (in Kansas) to Minnesota Avenue, Washington Boulevard, and Fairfax Trafficway will be closed.

• After the traffic control measures over the weekend are complete, Broadway and I-35 southbound will be accessible from I-70 westbound throughout the duration of the two-year construction.

Detours:
• The main detour route will travel around the downtown loop or come up I-35 northbound to use I-670 westbound.

• The secondary route will use I-35 southbound to the 27thStreet exit.

• To detour to Kansas City, Kansas, use the Central Avenue Exit from I-670 westbound. To facilitate traffic operations using the Central Avenue exit:

o A second lane will be added to the 3rd St.-James St. exit ramp from I-70.

o Temporary signals will be added to the two intersections.

Motorists may continue to check the Kansas City Metro page on the KDOT website for more details at www.ksdot.org/bureaus/kcMetro.

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