The trip from Kansas City to the East Lawrence exit on the Kansas Turnpike is about to get about a quarter-mile shorter.
Beginning about 3 p.m. Thursday, westbound traffic turning off the turnpike at Exit 204 will need to do so about 1,500 feet east of the existing departure point, said Rex Fleming, project engineer.
The early-exit shift is being installed to give construction crews room to start putting up a concrete barrier, to be used later this year to separate traffic heading in both directions on the turnpike.
About 1,300 vehicles use the exit ramp each day, Fleming said.
“Follow the signs and be aware,” he said.
By Thanksgiving, crews plan to shift all turnpike traffic — heading both east and west — onto a new Kansas River bridge, so that existing bridges can be removed and replaced as part of a $130 million project scheduled for completion in 2011.
Exit 204 is scheduled to be closed eight months for reconstruction, beginning sometime in March.