I-35 lanes in southwest JoCo to shut down starting Friday night

Southwest Johnson County drivers who use Interstate 35 might want to find a new route if they use the highway overnight in the next week.

Starting tonight, highway crews will shut down I-35 in both directions from U.S. 56 in Gardner to U.S. 169 in Olathe to allow for work on the new interchange at Lone Elm Road.

The interstate will be shut down from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. Saturday. The closure will be repeated overnight Saturday and Monday through next Wednesday night at about the same times.

Northbound I-35 traffic will be directed east on 175th Street to U.S. 69, then north to Olathe and I-35. Southbound traffic will be detoured south on U.S. 169 and west on 175th Street to Gardner and I-35.

The $67.4 million Lone Elm Road interchange isn’t expected to be completed until June 2010.

Highway planners hope the interchange will draw vehicles, especially trucks, away from the busy interchange at I-35 and 151st Street near Olathe Medical Center. It also could relieve congestion along 151st Street.