City Council approves relocating 37th Street for Koch construction project

03/20/2013 7:03 AM

03/20/2013 7:05 AM

City Council members signed off without comment Tuesday on the relocation of 37th Street between Oliver and Hillside, a key plank in the expansion plans of Koch Industries.

Under the $5 million project, the road will loop north around the Koch parking lot to accommodate the 210,000-square-foot building Koch plans to build on the northwest side of the campus. The expansion will require the street to be rerouted a quarter-mile to the north. The new facility will house 745 employees. Koch employs about 2,800 in Wichita.

The relocation will not cost Wichita taxpayers anything, with all expenses being paid by Koch, company spokeswoman Missy Cohlmia and City Manager Robert Layton said. Construction on the project is scheduled to begin this spring and is expected to be done in time for the fall groundbreaking for the new Koch building. In addition, all of the affected right-of-way is owned and supplied by Koch.

Company officials have not disclosed the cost of the project, which includes a 745-slot parking lot north of the building. The company didn’t request or receive financial incentives from the city for the expansion. The cost of the city’s inspection work and construction supervision to make sure the project meets city specifications – about $250,000 – is being reimbursed to the city by Koch, Layton said.

The relocated 37th Street will include a five-lane roadway, with two lanes in each direction, a center two-way left turn lane and right-turn lanes to and from all entrances.

In addition, a 6-foot-wide sidewalk will be built on both sides of the street, drainage will be improved, and the existing 20-inch water line will be replaced.

City officials told the council that at least one lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained through most of the construction project, but 37th Street may be closed to through traffic for up to one month if needed.

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