|View of KDOT traffic control set up Monday morning at Santa Fe Lake Road, |
on the east end of a U.S. 54/400 closure caused by tornado damage.
By Tim Potter
KDOT District Five crews began around-the-clock work on U.S. 54/400 after a tornado caused major damage in the Andover area Friday night.
Area Five Maintenance Superintendent David Lechner recalled what he saw just after daylight Saturday where the tornado tore across the highway through Andover: “just a big field of debris as it went across 400 and took out the high lines on the north side of the road.”
For a time, all lanes of the highway were closed so KDOT could clean the highway and utility workers could do repairs.
Closer to the west end of the closure, Area Five crew members manned the Yorktown intersection at the highway since 1 a.m. Saturday. That is close to where a YMCA sustained severe damage.
On the east end of the approximately 6-mile-long closure, Area Two crew members directed by Maintenance Superintendent Tom McCartney had barricades up at Santa Fe Lake Road and were diverting traffic to the north. Area Two workers cleaned up the highway with a power broom and loader.
On Saturday, KDOT set up a portable message board on westbound U.S. 54 at the closure and one at 21st Street North to help drivers follow a detour. Later Saturday, KDOT placed a message board at Leon, farther east in Butler County, to alert drivers to the westbound closure.
“I just appreciated our people being out there around the clock,” said District Five Engineer Brent Terstriep.
KDOT announced Saturday that eastbound lanes had been reopened. Westbound lanes remained closed over the weekend so utility crews could continue repairing power lines. As the work progressed, KDOT reopened one of the westbound lanes Monday morning.