A convenience store on the Kansas Turnpike northeast of Lawrence is closing for reconstruction, meaning drivers will need to look elsewhere for food, fuel and collectibles during the next six months.
The EZ Go Convenience Store at the turnpike’s Lawrence Service Area, which is five miles east of the East Lawrence interchange, closed Monday morning for a “raze and rebuild” project, said Carey Johnson, president of Carey Johnson Oil Co. Inc., which owns the EZ Go group.
The convenience store and fuel pumps will be expected to reopen July 1.
A McDonald’s restaurant at the service area will remain open during construction.
The $3.7 million project will add more bathrooms and fixtures, and nearly triple the size of the convenience store, Johnson said.
The number of fueling stations for drivers will go from eight to 24, he said, and the station also will be expanding its variety by providing three grades of fuel — up from the current two — as well as offering E85, an ethanol blend.
Truckers will be able to use a separate, six-lane area equipped with “ultra high-flow” diesel, Johnson said. The pumps will have credit card readers, something that hasn’t been offered before.
Carey Johnson Oil is financing the bulk of the construction project, just as it did for a new convenience store and fuel operation at the turnpike’s Belle Plaine Service Area, which is south of Wichita and the last such area on the turnpike. That new store, a $3.8 million project, opened Aug. 22.
Johnson expects the project northeast of Lawrence to boost sales. Sales in the convenience store should rise by 75 percent, he said, while fuel sales should go up at a lower rate.
Johnson also expects the work to help McDonald’s.
“What this should do is drive more traffic,” he said. “This should be better for them as well.”
Patrick Manning, a spokesman for Lawrence-based Dobski & Associates, owner of the McDonald’s and 13 others in northeast Kansas, said that he learned of the construction project about two weeks ago.
Turnpike officials have agreed to post signs on the turnpike, reminding drivers that while EZ Go may be closed, the McDonald’s would remain very much open.
Dobski & Associates already is looking forward to the project’s completion, and the additional traffic that would be expected to come with it.
“We’re partners,” Manning said. “We get their customers, and they get some of our customers. We just hope they get open again soon.”