Wichita’s lack of moisture the past two years cuts two ways when it comes to street projects.
Dry weather means work can keep going.
“It’s been a blessing in that regard,” City Engineer Gary Janzen said. “But we need to trade it off and get some rain.”
Too little moisture means water has to be brought to job sites so road beds can be compacted correctly – and that adds to costs, he said.
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“For optimum compaction, we need rain,” Janzen said. “There has to be some moisture in the soil. It can’t be bone dry.”
Rain or shine, the city and Sedgwick County have plenty of projects in the works for 2013.
Just counting the key projects, the city has more than $100 million worth of street, drainage and bridge work going on this year. Some projects will be completed this year and others in 2014.
The county has one main road project – 135th Street West between K-32 and 71st Street South – and will be replacing four large bridges and eight smaller ones, Public Works Director David Spears said.
The average life of a bridge is 50 years, and the county has about 600 bridges.
“You better do about 12 a year or you’ll get behind,” Spears said.
Bridges for I-235 to 13th
What: Construct two flyover bridges – one northbound, one southbound – for the Big Ditch to connect I-235 to 13th Street. This will provide access from northbound I-235 to westbound 13th and eastbound 13th to southbound I-235.
Cost: $35 million. No federal money.
When: Started in 2012 and expected to be completed by end of 2014.
135th West between 13th and 21st streets
What: Expand from two lanes to three. Rebuild intersection at 21st and 135th to provide turn lanes in all directions and signalization. Add sidewalks, including a 10-foot-wide multi-use path on the west side. Work will also correct a drainage problem. The project is driven in part by increased traffic from the YMCA’s new northwest branch.
Cost: $6 million. No federal money.
When: Started in 2012 and expected to be completed this spring.
Central from 119th West to 135th West
What: Widen to five lanes from two-lane asphalt and add storm drainage, sidewalks and landscaped medians. Straighten street to make it safer by taking out half-mile curve to just east of 135th. That stretch has had several fatality crashes in recent years, officials said. Work also will include building two bridges. Constructing one of the bridges will require closing 135th Street for eight months and detouring traffic to 119th West. Central will be reduced to one eastbound lane from 135th to 119th until about Thanksgiving.
Cost: $11 million. $7 million in federal funding.
When: Started in late February and projected to be completed late spring 2014.
135th West from Kellogg to Onewood
What: Expand to three lanes from Kellogg to a half-mile south of Maple. Add sidewalk on east side and a10-foot-wide multi-use path on the west side. Improve drainage. Southbound 135th Street traffic will be closed from Onewood to the south during construction.
Cost: $2.5 million. $1.1 million in federal money.
When: Expected to start in May and finish in late fall.
West Kellogg frontage roads
What: Construction of frontage roads along West Kellogg between 135th and 151st West as preliminary work to expanding Kellogg from four lanes to six lanes. Cost of project also includes right-of-way purchase and moving utilities.
Cost: $23 million. $4 million in state money.
When: Expected to start in June and finish by end of 2013.
Broadway bridge at 34th South
What: Replace 800-foot bridge that arches over the railroad tracks near 34th Street. Besides the four-lane bridge, project includes drainage improvements, sidewalks and road work on Topeka between 35th and 37th. During construction, traffic will be reduced to one lane between Patterson and 38th.
Cost: $15 million. Almost $10 million in federal funds.
When: Started in February and expected to be completed August 2014.
Drainage on South Meridian
What: Work will start at the Arkansas River, north of Pawnee, and end near Meridian and Orient. Project will help drainage of Meridian – from Pawnee to McCormick – and especially the area near Orient, where the railroad tracks cross and create one of the worst drainage areas in the city. A concrete box 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide will be constructed where the drainage enters the Arkansas River. After the drainage work, Meridian will be widened from four to five lanes from Pawnee to McCormick.
Cost: $8 million.
When: Expected to start in April and be completed in spring 2014.
William from Emporia to Main
What: Convert that stretch of William from one-way westbound to a two-way street. City officials see that helping with the traffic flow and being a better fit with the new construction and remodeling in that area of downtown. Conversion of William was recommended in the downtown master plan. Project will include rebuilding the surface pavement and putting in new traffic signals. During construction, one very narrow westbound lane will be open.
When: Expected to start in May and finish in August.
13th from Hydraulic to Oliver
What: Ongoing work to widen from four to five lanes. Considerable work on sidewalks, including moving them farther from the curb, and on improving drainage. Large amount of right-of-way acquisition required.
Cost: $17 million.
When: Started in 2012 and expected to be completed by late 2013.
37th North from Hillside to Oliver
What: Relocating five-lane 37th farther north to allow for expansion of Koch Industries’ campus. New building would sit in the middle of where 37th Street is now. After the new 37th Street is finished, it will loop around to Hillside and Oliver intersections. A 20-inch water line will be relocated. Also includes 6-foot sidewalks and drainage.
Cost: $5 million. Koch will pay for the project.
When: Expected to start in April and finish by October.
135th West from K-42 and 71st South
What: Putting shoulders and new asphalt on road to make it safer. Only ditches along road now. Project will require changing the grade. Road will be closed during construction.
Cost: $3.75 million.
When: Expected to start in late 2013 and take all of 2014 to complete.
Bridge on 103rd South
Between Hoover and Ridge Road
What: Replace bridge.
When: Expected to start in mid-May and finish in November.
Bridge on 55th South
Between Meridian and West
What: Replace bridge.
When: Expected to start in June and finish in November.
Bridge on 107th South
Between 231st West and 247th West
What: Replace bridge.
When: Expected to start in early May and finish in August.
Bridge on 239th West
Between K-42 and 103rd South
What: Replace bridge.
When: Expected to start in June and finish in October.