Portions of I-235 will be shut down this weekend

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

"I'm going to stay away from there," chuckled Paul Constable. "That's what I think."

Drivers beware!  There's a big road closure coming to Wichita this weekend.  Construction will shut down a large chunk of I-235 in both directions from Meridian to the I-135 interchange.  It's part of a multi-year project to update aging bridges and pavement and widen the heavily trafficked highway.

"It's delayed me a lot cause I have to go around a lot of it," Constable said about the ongoing construction on I-235 along the northern edge of the city.  "It's been an ongoing problem down there for awhile."

He's one of thousands of drivers who travel the route every day.  But that will change this weekend. when it shuts down completely.

"This is a complete closure, both directions of I-235, so that we can take down the Seneca Street bridge which goes over I-235.  So this is a demolition and removal of a bridge," said Tom Hein, KDOT's Wichita area spokesman.

In order to finish adding lanes and replacing 50-year-old pavement on the interstate, the Seneca Street bridge over I- 235 must go.

"We know it affects traffic and we know it's an inconvenience," Hein said.  "But this is one of those things that has to be done over a number of days.  You can't tear down a bridge and then reopen a highway immediately."

The closure will begin at 9 p.m. Friday night through as late as 6 a.m. Monday.  There will be a detour using Kellogg but the best advice regular drivers can give is to just avoid the area.  That's why the state picked a weekend for the closure.

"Weekend traffic is certainly lower than during the week. So that's the goal here, is to affect as few as we can," Hein said.

Drivers like Constable know how much work I-235 needs and call this closure a necessary evil.

"You know, they've got to move with the times.  We're getting more people and more cars and obviously we need better roads," Constable said.

The bridge at Seneca will not go back up once the construction is finished.  It will be gone for good.  The state opened a new 40th Street that connects to Meridian for folks who live in the neighborhoods north of I-235.

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