Car sales in Wichita started in 1909.
It took only three years before motorists began complaining about how trains delayed their travels. By 1913, construction on a Douglas Avenue Bridge was under way.
Similar delays have played out since — and are still ongoing if you ask people who regularly drive 21st Street, Pawnee or Hydraulic.
But train delays at Central, Murdock and 13th Street are history.
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Local leaders stood in front of three train engines Monday and cut a red ribbon on one of the biggest engineering and time-saving projects in the city's history.
"If you've ever waited at a railroad crossing in Wichita, and that has to include each and every one of you, we all know, you understand why we're here today," Mayor Carl Brewer said.
The $105 million overpass project will save an estimated 2 million hours a year that drivers would otherwise spend waiting at the tracks at the Central, Murdock and 13th Street crossings, according to Joe Pajor, assistant director of public works.
It also frees up routes for emergency vehicles and cuts down on air pollution.
Elected leaders credited efforts by city, state, federal and railroad officials, and they praised the engineers who designed, built and oversaw the project.
Pajor said the elevated railroads, which involve steel trusses, sand, concrete and other materials, weigh an estimated 30 billion pounds.
That comes out to about a third of a cent per pound, Pajor said.
"So, really quite affordable," he
Former Mayor Bob Knight, who spearheaded the project for the city, said it's a testament to government entities working together and the strength of local engineers and contractors.
"If we can do a project like this, we can do anything in this city," he said.