US-50 to be rerouted
Highway traffic is about to pick up in central Marion County.
For an estimated 35 days, starting around Aug. 20, through traffic going west on US-50 — the busiest road in the county, especially for semis — will officially be rerouted, with only local traffic allowed westbound between Florence and Newton.
Bridge repairs where US-50 passes over I-135 in Newton will cause through traffic to be detoured from the US-50/77 roundabout in Florence north on US-77 to the US-56/77/K-150 roundabout east of Marion.
The detour will continue west on US-56 past Marion, Hillsboro, and Lehigh to K-15, then south on K-15 to I-135 north of Newton.
Motorists will not be sent across K-150 from Elmdale to the US-56/77/K-150 roundabout, but drivers with maps or GPS devices undoubtedly will find this shortcut, which would shave nine miles off their route.
Another likely alternative, not endorsed by the Kansas Department of Transportation, might take motorists south on Old Mill Rd. from Peabody to what’s commonly known as the 1st St. road (NW 150th St. in Butler County) near Elbing.
Signs on westbound US-50 will warn motorists in advance about the detour, which will add about 25 miles to their journey.
First phases of the project are scheduled to begin Monday with milling and patching of westbound lanes of the bridge in Newton.
During those phases, wide loads will be banned, and the speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph from 65 mph, but westbound traffic still will be allowed on US-50.
Starting around Aug. 20, the bridge will be closed, and the detour made active, while a concrete overlay is added to the roadway, a masonry coating is applied to bridge rails, and lights are removed.
The project, costing $307,109, is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 24.