Road work to begin on Broadway bridge, west Central

More orange cones soon will be popping up in south and west Wichita when two major road construction projects start next month.

Next week, road crews are expected to start replacing south Wichita’s Broadway bridge, which arches over railroad tracks near 34th Street, City Engineer Gary Janzen said. The $15 million project includes a four-lane bridge, drainage improvements, sidewalks and road work on 37th and on Topeka, between 35th and 37th.

It’s scheduled for completion in August 2014, Janzen said.

In 2007, city officials temporarily shut down the bridge and made minor repairs after inspectors found crumbling concrete. The bridge’s length – more than 800 feet with about 37 piers – made “continued maintenance much more difficult,” Janzen said.

Traffic on Broadway will be down to one lane in each direction between Patterson Street to 38th Street during construction, Janzen said.

During the second week of February, road crews will begin a 15-month project on Central from 119th to 135th. Plans include expanding Central to five lanes and adding two new bridges, storm drainage, sidewalks and landscaped medians, Janzen said.

The $11 million project also will straighten Central where it curves near 135th, Janzen said, “greatly (improving) the safety of the road for the traveling public.”

Completion is scheduled for May 2014.

One eastbound lane on Central will be open during construction, with access to neighborhoods, Janzen said.

Traffic on 135th north of Central will be closed from March to October while a bridge is built.

A new traffic signal at Maple and 135th, to be installed by March 1, should “assist the expected increase in traffic once Central and 135th are under construction,” Janzen said.

Nearly two-thirds of the projects’ cost is paid for through federal grants, he said.