Design approved for Kellogg, I-35 interchange

A new design for a stretch of East Kellogg at the Kansas Turnpike will allow vehicles to travel more smoothly and without stopping through the interchange, engineers told the Wichita City Council on Tuesday.

The newly designed interchange will perform much better than the previous concept and is expected to cost about the same, said Jim Armour, city engineer.

Council members unanimously approved the design Tuesday.

No date has been set for the start of construction. It likely will not begin for at least three years, depending on funding, Armour said.

Configuring that stretch of East Kellogg was complicated, he said, because the turnpike and Webb Road are less than a quarter-mile apart, with not enough room for two complete interchanges. The area also serves hotels, homes and Hawker Beechcraft.

A previous plan, approved by council members in March, called for eastbound traffic exiting Kellogg at Webb to go through a signal at the turnpike interchange and proceed to another light at Webb. The new plan eliminates that additional signal, as well as one for westbound traffic entering Kellogg from Webb.

"We now have a design that the engineering staff and I feel we can fully support," Armour said. "It will eventually provide service to over 30,000 motorists a day... without unnecessary delays."

The city could start buying property along the route by the end of the year, but it doesn't have enough money to build the project. The total cost from Cypress, just east of Rock Road, to 127th Street East is $300 million.

The new design is intended to handle traffic growth in the Kellogg and Webb area for at least the next 30 years.

Council member Jim Skelton voiced concerns about traffic jams along Kellogg between Webb and Rock Road "that occur every day or twice a day."

Armour said construction on Greenwich that diverts southbound traffic to Webb has increased delays. Once that project is complete later this year, "conditions should improve on Webb," he said.