Sometimes even a decent road has to go to make way for growth.
Such is the case of 119th Street West between Kellogg and Pawnee, which was last repaved in 2003.
The two-lane blacktop has cracks but rides relatively smoothly as it cuts through newer subdivisions, older homes and farmland.
But it's already traveled by about 12,000 vehicles each day, and the city foresees that growing to 18,000 a day.
Planners say that's enough growth to justify a five-lane path with a center turn lane and a 10-foot-wide sidewalk and bike path on the east side of the road.
City Council members concurred Tuesday and approved $277,000 to design the road and buy right of way.
But two homeowners who live on the west side of the road say the project puts the pavement too close to their homes and could add to flooding problems.
Dallas Rich, who lives on the west side of the street, said the road probably needs to be upgraded at some point — but not right now.
"We ought to use it in parts of our city that need it most," he said. "Not 119th Street."
Gary Janzen, a design engineer with the city, said that it's fairly common that growth leads the city to widen a road before it has substantially deteriorated.
"It'd be nice if we had that good of timing that every time we expanded a road it was also at a time when it needs to be replaced," he said. "But we're usually not that lucky."
He said the city has delayed expansions on some newer roads.
The 119th Street project, which will start next spring, will likely remove mature trees that Rich says buffer his home from noise.
Diana Patton is one of his neighbors. She was equally upset after the council's vote.
She said that when the road is finished sometime around the fall of 2011 it will be about 20 feet from her front porch.
The city says it will be 50 feet. Patton said they're not measuring from her front porch.
"I don't think you'd want it done on your property," she told council members.
Patton said past floods have damaged thousands of dollars in machinery in her barn.
It didn't used to flood as badly, both neighbors say. When new subdivisions moved in, the flooding got worse despite what they had been told about flood reduction efforts.
The road only adds to the problem, they say.
The city, however, said the project should improve any flooding problems — or at least not make them any worse.
Council member Paul Gray, who represents the area, said he's sympathetic to flooding problems but that the issues on those properties were pre-existing.
He noted that none of the other property owners who will likely be more affected by the project have opposed it. And the district advisory board recommended the city go ahead with the project.
This is where the growth pattern in southwest Wichita is, Gray said. It's better to improve it now than to wait and face higher prices to acquire developed land and then have to cut through even more land with homes nearby.
"I think it's a good project," he said.