Plans for a three-lane road on 37th Street North between Woodlawn and Oliver are moving forward, and construction could begin in spring 2016.
The Wichita City Council approved the street design concept, which includes bike lanes, during its meeting Tuesday.
Although the road technically is in Bel Aire, it is estimated that about 70 percent of the traffic on the road comes from Wichita residents, Wichita city engineer Gary Janzen said.
Wichita city limits end just to the south of the road and Bel Aire is on the north. The two cities have agreed to split the local costs of the road improvements, which are estimated at $650,000 each, Janzen said.
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City council member Lavonta Williams, who represents District I where the work will take place, said this is an example of a regional partnership between the two cities that she hopes will continue.
The rest of the project is expected to be covered by about $3 million in federal transportation funds secured through the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“It fills in a pretty critical gap there on 37th Street where improvements have been made on both sides already,” Janzen said.
Improvements just to the west on 37th Street were funded by Koch Industries for its campus expansion.
“With this being a two-lane road, as traffic continues to increase, there’s not enough capacity. It’s going to become dangerous. It’s going to become more congested,” Janzen said.
Current traffic count between Oliver and Woodlawn is about 6,100 vehicles per day, Janzen said. That number is expected to grow to more than 13,000 vehicles a day in coming years.
During construction, there will be a phase where only one westbound lane of traffic can go through on 37th Street and eastbound traffic will detour, Janzen said.
Bike lanes were added to the design plan since many pedestrians use the street unsafely, Janzen said.
“There’s no pedestrian access whatsoever,” Janzen said. “There’s a lot of people that walk the edge of the road, that ride their bikes, which is not safe at all.”
City staff will go back to the council later to get final approval of the construction budget, Janzen said.