Drivers caused safety and congestion issues Tuesday morning when they avoided a detour by cutting through a Shawnee Mission Medical Center parking lot to get around a road closure.
Because of the problems created by the traffic, Kansas Department of Transportation officials expanded the East Frontage Road closure at noon Tuesday.
Crews on Monday closed a small portion of Frontage Road that is adjacent to northbound Interstate 35 and the Shawnee Mission Medical Center to make emergency drainage repairs.
Initially, Frontage Road in Merriam was closed from the entrance drive of the medical center to 74th Street. Barricades went up Tuesday morning at 75th Street and 69th Street. Through traffic is supposed to detour via Antioch Road.
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However, drivers avoided the detour by driving past the barricades and then cutting through a parking lot.
The Transportation Department decided to close Frontage Road to all traffic at 75th Street. That leaves no access to head north on Frontage Road from 75th.
The closure is needed to make emergency drainage repairs that started Monday afternoon and is expected to take until late April or early May to complete.
Crews will repair erosion that has occurred at a drainage outlet between Frontage Road and northbound I-35, just north of 75th Street.
A junction that connects a pipe located underneath the Shawnee Mission Medical Center parking lot to a pipe that runs under I-35 to drain on the west side of the highway has been damaged. Water is eroding the soil away from the drainage outlet.
Frontage Road has to be closed to keep the shoulder from shifting due to the weight of vehicles traveling on it while crews make the emergency repairs to the drainage structure.