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Detour extended until Labor Day

Staff writers

UPDATE: Barricades restricting Eisenhower Dr. to local traffic only were installed at K-256/Main St. after this story was reported.

Truck drivers hit a dead end. Cars drive in ditches to get around barricades. Drivers trying to circumvent the K-256 detour through Marion via Eisenhower Dr. are both finding and creating confusion.

Those drivers will have longer to figure out what to do, however, as the detour’s initial end date of Aug. 20 looks to be pushed back to around Labor Day weekend because of delays in moving utilities, officials with Kansas Department of Transportation said.

An extension of Eisenhower known as Timber Rd. was closed last week to stop an increased flow of semi trucks whose drivers were trying to avoid driving through Marion on Main St.

With no indication on K-256 that the road is closed ahead, drivers are still turning on to Eisenhower, only to be met with staggered barricades at Kellison St., a gravel road bordering Marion Cemetery on the nothr, where Eisenhower becomes Timber. Drivers who drive through the staggered barricades are met with fully closed barricades at US-56.

Drivers on US-56 expecting to cut south at Timber have no indication as to its closure until they reach the barricades.

Either way, motorists have to backtrack to find alternative routes.

Work beginning on a Dollar General building at US-56 and Industrial Drive has complicated matters further.

A semi truck driver delivering a dirt truck Tuesday to the site from US-77 was instructed to take the K-256 detour and Eisenhower to the construction site, he said. He was blocked by the barricades at Kellison and had to call for an alternate route. He turned on Kellison and delivered the equipment to the Prairieland Partners lot on Cedar St.

Bus drivers will have to navigate the detour when school starts — about a dozen of them, high school principal Tod Gordon said.

Increased traffic on Main St. will pick up even more when about 50 cars and a dozen buses hit the street after school is dismissed.

Children who will cross Main St. while walking to and from school and parents dropping off and picking up children will add to the congestion.

“That will be an interesting 30 minutes every day for two or three weeks,” Gordon said.

He plans to meet with each of the high school classes when school starts and talk to them about how to handle the situation. He said law enforcement might have to be on hand to monitor traffic.

Police chief Tyler Mermis said at Monday’s city council meeting that police would have someone available as a crossing guard for those days.

Last modified Aug. 6, 2015

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