New Whataburger in Lee’s Summit brings traffic troubles for nearby businesses, hospital

Business

LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Monday is the day local Whataburger fans have waited years to arrive. The first Whataburger location in the Kansas City area opened its doors.

People know what they want, and they’re willing to wait for it.

Eddie Garcia told FOX4 he’d been waiting in line for an hour already. He drove in from Dodge City, Kansas — “about 5 hours away,” he said.

They planned to visit their son in Kansas City this same week Whataburger opened.

“Hopefully, they don’t run out of food before they get there,” Garcia said.

The opening of the Kansas City area’s first Whataburger brought out long lines of people hoping to get their first taste of the famous fast food chain.

“Crazy, it’s freaking crazy, but it’s OK. I’m worth it, it’s worth it to wait,” said Tyrone White, who also gave his thanks to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for helping spur the chain’s expansion to the area.

Whataburger’s Lee’s Summit location is located at 1460 NE Douglas Street. It’s an easy drive from Interstate 470 and 291 Highway. The area is already busy with other restaurants and businesses that will have to deal with higher-than-normal traffic in the area for the next few days.

The Lee’s Summit Police Department said last week it’s been working with Whataburger on a traffic control plan for the first several days the location is open.

The police department is also working with Saint Luke’s East Hospital. The hospital sits on Douglas Street and is less than two blocks from the new Whataburger location.

That means anyone who works at the hospital, has a doctors appointment scheduled there, or needs to visit Saint Luke’s East should allow a little extra drive time this week.

“Traffic guys went to work and built plan that would allow smooth traffic flow,” Sgt. Chris Depue said, “not only to Whataburger, but surrounding businesses and then one of our main focuses was not compromising safety around the hospital.”

A spokesperson for Saint Luke’s said the Lee’s Summit Police Department is assisting the hospital with traffic control. Officers are working to keep access to the hospital and its parking lots open and available to patients, employees and visitors.

Saint Luke’s East said it also has additional security officers on-site and available to work with the hospital’s security team and Whataburger to make sure access to the hospital is available at all times.

The police department expects the high traffic to only be around for a couple of days.

Whataburger’s second Kansas City-area location opens in Independence on Nov. 29.

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