Work began last week on a box-culvert replacement on U.S.
Highway 56 west of Four Corners. The road is scheduled to be closed
through mid-June, routing through traffic though Osage City.
Jeremy Gaston | Editor
SCRANTON—A bridge replacement project on U.S. Highway 56
between U.S. Highway 75 and Scranton blocked out-of-town customers
from conveniently reaching Scranton businesses.
“It has been down a lot,” said Sharon Vawter, manager
of Casey’s General Store. “I’ve seen very few
people from Burlingame or Osage.”
Employees said project has reduced traffic at the community’s
only gas station and convenience store to local customers. The
sentiment was shared by CP’s Branding Iron and Saloon, located
directly across the street from Casey’s in Scranton’s
“We haven’t had as much traffic in here,” said
Paula Schuler, owner of the restaurant. “The effect was
almost immediate, and it’s affecting our business.”
Schuler was caught off guard by the closure, receiving notification
by a road sign along U.S. 75.
“I wish we’d have been notified,” she said.
“We found out the day before.”
Official notification came days sooner, with the Kansas Department
of Transportation (KDOT) issuing a press release on March 4, just
10 days before the highway was to close for three months. Notification
was published in the subsequent edition of The Herald-Chronicle.
A detour routes drivers through Burlingame to Osage City and then
back to U.S. 75 via State Highway 31.
Schuler said the impact could have been softened if they would
have had time to notify their out-of-town customers of the closure.
“We have a lot of customers from Topeka,” Schuler
said. “They were rerouted though Osage City, and it took
them over an hour to get here. They weren’t pleased.”
Schuler estimated between 40 and 50 percent of her customers are
from out of town. With no convenient official detour, customers
must find their way around, take the long way, or end up elsewhere.
“I talked to KDOT, and they can’t put a detour on
dirt road,” Schuler said. “It has to be on a state
highway, so we’re kind of at a loss. We’re hoping
as it goes on our customers will figure out which way to go and
get in here a little bit easier.”
Burlingame businesses, which are accessible by paved roads from
four directions, were less affected by the detour.
“It takes my bikers a little longer to get here, but they
still come,” said Jeannie Riggs, owner of the Santa Fe Café
in downtown Burlingame. “My customers are still getting
Riggs said many of her customers were able to come in from the
north on Auburn Road, a paved option that doesn’t exist
Local drivers have had less trouble navigating around the closure,
driving dirt roads north and south of Scranton.
“For those of us that know our way around, we can get around
without going too far out of the way,” Vawter said. “We
know the back roads. We’re not going to waste all that gas.”
According to the original KDOT press release, the scheduled completion
date for the $214,227 bridge replacement project is mid-June.