The closing of the Roe Avenue bridges over Interstate 435 has a few nearby business owners preparing to see some of their customers detoured away from their doors.
The route over the interstate closed Friday morning, with the bridges set to be demolished over the weekend. They will be replaced with a diverging diamond interchange slated to open in late October.
As drivers are detoured around the construction, some area businesses are worried.
At Netian Nails and Lashes, a business that opened three weeks ago, the lack of access is causing concern. Some customers from the south side of the interstate would have to take a detour to reach the business on the north side.
Although business hadn’t seemed much slower Friday morning, owner Shannon Chanthavixay said she figured it would take about a week to know what the impact will be.
“If they can’t cross over, they’re not going to cross over to see us, so I’m worried,” she said.
At Winstead’s, just north of I-435, a whiteboard on the front counter spelled out a route to the restaurant in blue and red marker, and general manager Patty Tanner said she has spent the past week letting customers know about the closure. She said she expected the restaurant to lose some business in the coming months, particularly from customers who might stop for breakfast or lunch.
On Friday morning, she estimated the restaurant had missed $100 to $150 of revenue it would have regularly earned from breakfast customers.
Tanner said she hopes that after the weekend, customers will start to figure out that they can still make the trip over.
“Until people get the route down and the timing down, I think it’s still going to have an effect on our business,” she said.
Other business officials didn’t seem particularly concerned. At a nearby QuikTrip, the parking lot and store were fairly busy Friday, about what manager Roger Taylor would expect for an average morning. He said it’s tough to know what the impact will be, but he expects customers to find a way to reach the store.
Diana Sieckman, manager of Blades Salon and Boutique, said that because her business is based on appointments, she doesn’t expect any problems in the coming months. People who would be detoured will just have to find a different way to get there.
“It’s going to be inconvenient, yes, but life’s inconvenient,” she said.
Although drivers trying to get across the interstate are being diverted, right turns from I-435 onto Roe and right turns from Roe onto I-435 will remain open throughout the project. The average daily traffic on the bridges is 34,400 vehicles.
Kimberly Qualls, public affairs manager for northeast Kansas for the Kansas Department of Transportation, said there would be some lane closures on I-435 in that area during the construction process as needed. The main closures on the interstate will be over the weekend, when the bridges are set to be demolished.
Demolishing and closing the bridges decrease the overall closure length to four or five months, she said.
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