Work on a railroad crossing north of Eudora is complicating plans for a handful of Eudora High School graduation parties, including one expected to draw 250 guests.
The work — to replace rail lines and upgrade a rail crossing at Leavenworth County Road 1 — is scheduled to close the section of road from Saturday through Tuesday.
Commencement at Eudora High School, which is about three miles south of the tracks, is set for 1 p.m. Saturday. Then comes a collection of parties that includes a massive blowout at a barn north of the tracks, in Leavenworth County.
Lou Ann Scott is among the organizers expecting 250 guests to munch on pulled pork, beef brisket, sub sandwiches and a variety of cakes honoring her daughter Bailey and four of her closest friends.
Scott and others, who have been planning the event since spring break, went into crisis mode Wednesday, after learning of the impending road closure. There are guests to notify, deliveries to reroute, schedules to reconfigure.
“We’re all frustrated,” she said.
But Mark Davis, a Union Pacific spokesman, said Wednesday that the railroad’s crews would “make every effort” to be finished working at the crossing by early Saturday afternoon.
Not that it will be easy. The crossing upgrade is one of 84 included in a nearly $18 million project to overhaul the railroad’s stretch between Topeka and Linwood, with 180 employees installing 17,700 ties, spreading 15,400 tons of rock and installing more than 30 miles of new rail.
Work near the crossing starts Friday, Davis said, and the crew’s foreman knows there are plenty of graduates, their families and guests counting on workers getting the road back open as soon as possible.
“Our guys know they’ll be working as fast as they can to make it happen,” Davis said.
Robin Abel, another parent organizing the party, remains hopeful that friends and family of her daughter Kendal won’t be forced into delays of at least 30 minutes by taking back roads on the way to the party and others north of the tracks.
“Cross your fingers and say your prayers,” she said.