Signs damaged more than a year ago are going back up Friday above Interstate 70, and that will mean delays — or even a complete halt — for traffic heading through eastern Topeka, the Kansas Department of Transportation said.
The installation work, just east of Exit 363, briefly will close all lanes for traffic headed west on Interstate 70 at the interchange for Adams Street and Branner Trafficway. The closure will be expected to last about 15 minutes and will occur sometime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday.
The department understands that the closure will be an inconvenience for drivers, but consider it a necessary one to replace signs taken down following a December 2007 accident. Crews need time to “safely swing the entire overhead sign structure into place,” said Kimberly Qualls, a department spokeswoman.
Crews and emergency personnel will be busy placing advance-warning signs and otherwise informing drivers to be aware of the work ahead, she said. The stretch of interstate carries up to 40,000 vehicles per day.
“If they can get off and take an alternate route, that would be advisable,” Qualls said. “There will be travelers from out of state who won’t be aware of it. They’ll have to be patient. Crews will work as fast as possible to safely place the signs.”
The work originally had been scheduled for Wednesday, Qualls said, but was rescheduled at the request of the contractor.
The shutdown of multiple lanes won’t be the only effect on traffic, Qualls said. Here’s the full rundown for Friday:
• 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Westbound I-70 left lane will be closed between California Avenue and the Adams Street/Branner Trafficway exits.
• 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Westbound I-70 entrance ramp from California Avenue and westbound I-70 exit ramp to Adams Street/Branner Trafficway will be closed; that’s also when westbound I-70 will be closed entirely for about 15 minutes at some point, to swing the sign structure into place.
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Eastbound I-70 left lane will be closed between Eighth Street and California Avenue exits; westbound I-70 right lane will be closed between California Avenue and Adams Street/Branner Trafficway exits.