Construction Closes Topeka Boulevard Until November

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- One of Topeka's most-traveled streets is set to close to make way for a major construction project, one that could impact North Topeka businesses and residents.

Brian Yingling has many loyal customers at Yingling Auto Service, but he fears a construction project could cut his business as much as 30 percent.

"This is the busiest time of the year," Yingling said. "It's the worst time they could do it, but they had to do something."

North Topeka Boulevard, right outside Yingling's, will close to all through traffic Thursday, May 30 so crews can replace the aging Highway 24 bridge that spans the road.

All highway interchange ramps will also close.

"It's definitely going to affect us. We're definitely going to get our long-time customers, but it's the new customers as far as finding their way here, are they going to go to the hassle of doing that?"

Nib's House of Coffee, right next to Yingling's, is also dreading a business decline, but staying positive.

Rachel Riedy is a barista at Nib's and wants the change to be positive after the construction is over.

"We're a little nervous. We're counting on our regulars to stay here and keep the business going. We really hope in the long-run it'll bring us more business."

Marla Watson, owner of Village North Styling Salon, hopes an empty street doesn't mean empty seats.

"There's a little bit of concern," Watson said. "I just hope people remember we're here and take the extra time to get here."

Crews will set up alert boards advising drivers to detour using Menninger Road, Kansas Avenue and Lyman Road.

Drivers should expect delays, but business owners hope they choose to take the extra time to continue paying them a visit.

"I think they're okay with it, it'll just be a process for them," Watson said.

The Highway 24 bridge and cloverleaf were built in 1941.

The entire project is expected to end mid-November.

The price tag is estimated at $1.69 million.