N. Topeka business owner offers construction idea to KDOT

A North Topeka business owner says a project set to start in a few weeks will hurt businesses in the area – so he’s come up with his own solution to the problem.

Mark Canaday drives to his north Topeka collision repair shop every day. He agrees that the bridge at U.S. 24 and N.W. Topeka Boulevard should be replaced.

“Well, it needs to be done, the bridge is in poor condition,” Canaday says.

But he says the current construction plan, which will allow no access from Topeka Boulevard onto U.S. 24, could hurt the businesses in the area. He met Monday with Kansas Department of Transportation engineers to try and fix that.

“It’s vital that people can get here and then get somewhere back, if you can get here and you can’t go anywhere, then people aren’t going to come,” Canaday says.

The proposed solution adds another lane right here so at least traffic coming southbound on Topeka Boulevard could hop onto U.S. 24 Westbound. It sounds like a simple fix, but it could cost extra time and money.

“We thought it was as simple as leaving the ramp open,” says owner of Yingling Auto Service, Brian Yingling, “And they explained to us it’s not that simple, it’s not totally undoable it’s just, is it going to slow and delay the project.”

A KDOT spokesperson says adding that ramp would cost around $90,000, but Yingling says it would alleviate a potential burden on business.

“It’s going to impact our business, it’s our busy time of year, these are the busiest months we have,” Yingling says, “We’re not sure how much this is going to deter but I know leaving that ramp open would definitely help us out.”

The KDOT spokesperson says officials plan to discuss this potential option later in the week.

She isn’t sure when a decision will be made.

Whether the department uses Canaday’s plan or not, construction is expected to start right after the Memorial Day holiday.

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