Road improvements on S. Meridian to start

The city of Wichita has finalized plans to begin road improvements on Meridian between 31st and 47th South.

The $8.4 million project will include widening Meridian between 33rd and 47th South while improving drainage systems and sidewalks on both sides of the street. The project also includes an expansion of the intersection at 31st South and Meridian and the addition of traffic signals to the I-235 access ramps on south Meridian.

An informational meeting for area businesses and residents will be at 5:30 p.m. today at the Bethel Life Center, 3777 S. Meridian. The project is scheduled to start Jan. 4.

"We're hoping to complete construction by November 2010," said Gail Williams, assistant to the director of public works for the city of Wichita. "But it is possible that lots of nasty weather this winter or rain in the summer could delay the project."

The intersection at 31st and Meridian will add left-turn lanes in each direction, while the work on Meridian will widen the road from four lanes to five, creating a center turn lane between 33rd and 47th streets.

"It's always better to have a center turning lane for safety reasons," Williams said. "Also, the improved sidewalks on both sides of the street will accommodate foot traffic for local businesses."

The addition of traffic signals to the I-235 access ramps at Meridian will force construction crews to close the ramps for 10-day periods. Williams said the city will use electronic signs to inform drivers when the ramps will close.

Meridian will maintain a lane of traffic in both directions except southbound between MacArthur and 47th South. That traffic will be detoured to Seneca.

Williams said an expansion of the intersection at 47th South and Meridian will take place in a future project, which is slated to start in the spring of 2011.