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Redesign of Wichita's decaying Broadway bridge up for vote

Underside of the decaying Broadway bridge near 34th Street SouthIn August 2007, public works officials spotted a major problem with the Broadway Street bridge that spans over railroad tracks near 34th Street South. They knew it had been in rough shape. But now it had decayed to the point that concrete was falling off its underside and in  a few spots on the surface. It was about two weeks after the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis during rush hour, killing 13 people. City officials, aware of the spotlight on bridges, feared it could crumble with the heavy traffic. They closed it. Then, weeks later, they reopened it to two lanes of traffic.

Tuesday, the city council will vote whether to spend $100,000 in local money and $400,000 in federal funds to have MKEC Engineering Consultants, Inc. design a new bridge.

It’s unclear how long that will take, and the city hasn’t set any money aside to construct a new bridge, which could cost as much at $9 million. A decision on funding that will likely come when the council votes on a new capital improvement budget later this year.