The City Council today unanimously approved the artwork to beautify the planned bridge over the Big Ditch at 13th Street.
The artwork will feature a stylized windmill, along with birds flying among clouds.
Dominant colors will be shades of green and brown to reflect the colors of the changing Kansas seasons, said James Armour, the city engineer.
The windmill theme was chosen because of the proximity of the bridge to Windmill Road and because windmills are an image evocative of the plains, Armour said.
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The cost of the artwork will be absorbed into the total budget of the $55 million bridge project, he said.
City Manager Robert Layton said it is unknown how much the artwork is adding to the cost of the bridge.
The bridge is being built to help alleviate traffic problems for residents of the populous northwest portion of the city. It will connect to the I-235 freeway and create more options for westside/downtown commuters.
Only one resident addressed the council during a public hearing on the artwork.
Larry Herron said he appreciated that the planned artwork features pictures only, unlike the freeway overpass at Kellogg and Oliver, which has a sundial and a poem incorporated into its design.
Herron said he could only pick up the first word of the poem as he drives down Kellogg and he much prefers the simpler approach being taken for the 13th Street bridge.
“That’s just right for me,” he said. “I am very much enthused by the way it looks.”
Council member Jeff Longwell, who represents the west side, remarked “we’re a very conservative area, but at the same time, we want something that’s special.”
He said the bridge design represents “the best of both worlds.”