Highway 50 opens, side roads remain closed


The Newton Police Department announced that Highway 50 between Hutchinson and Newton is now open Friday after a 31 mile stretch was closed Thursday evening due to flooding.

The highway is now open through Harvey County, however, it is closed down to one lane between Spring Lake and Halstead roads. Also, most side roads remain closed for the time being due to flooding, causing one rural resident that didn't want to be named to use his canoe to get to his property.

"The water is a little bit higher now so I can't drive up closer to our property," the Halstead resident said. "So we were going to float in again, but they're still kind of questioning whether, they're going to hold people in or out."

He owns land near Halstead, a town that flooded due to recent rain in the state. He said the community has helped him with things since the side roads next to his home are flooded.

"We've got a few boats, and we've got some local people that have a few John boats so you know we've been helping each other out pretty good," he said. "You know the community helps each other out, when, you know everybody else is keeping track of the highway."

He said since the rain has gone he is just waiting to get back to life as usual.

"Got animals back in there we're trying to tend to and keep our property from floating off," the resident said.

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, this recent flooding has made detours hard to come by.

"There are so many county roads, that are also experiencing flooding, so it's hard for us to divert traffic along a specific detour," said Tom Hein, public affairs manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation.

The department still has crews along the highway redirecting traffic, to keep them from turning down side roads.

"We have crews that are monitoring the water situation, we have crews that are monitoring to make sure that people don't go around the barricades. I mean, that's kind of a dumb thing to do," Hein said.

Since the highway isn't completely open yet, delays can be expected in certain areas according to Hein. He said the timetable on when everything including the side roads, will re open depends on the damage done by the flooding.

"If we see damage we'll have to make those repairs before we can open the highway completely," he said.

Hein said the department will have crews on the highway monitoring the roads for the time being.