The stoplight on Kellogg at 111th Street West will go dark around the end of the year as Wichita traffic officials try to move motorists through West Kellogg more efficiently and get people in and out of the Cotillion Ballroom faster.
Officials hope changes at 111th will take out a dangerous stopping point on the freeway and reduce traffic backup during the morning and evening commutes, while also better accommodating customers of the 2,000-seat concert venue at the west edge of Wichita.
About 37,000 drivers a day pass through the intersection on Kellogg. About 1,700 use 111th Street.
City Engineer Gary Janzen told the Wichita City Council that “starting and stopping vehicles creates a lot of issues” at 111th Street.
It’s the first traffic light ending a long stretch of freeway on the west edge of town and it’s hard to see it coming because of a rise where the freeway passes over Maize Road, he said.
Removing the light will move the end of the freeway out a half-mile to 119th Street West, giving motorists more warning to slow down from freeway speed and stop if the light’s red, he said.
The 119th Street intersection averages 1.8 accidents a year. At 111th, it’s 8.3 accidents, he said.
“The crash rate and accident history here is real,” he said.
Elongated right- and left-turn lanes on the westbound side of Kellogg will replace the stoplight.
Instead of turning directly into the Cotillion at 111th, people going to shows there will have to exit at Maize Road and get to the venue via the frontage road on the north side of Kellogg.
When a concert ends, all outgoing traffic will turn right out of the Cotillion onto a new on-ramp to Kellogg. Those who want to go east back into the city will have to merge over into the left-turn lane at 119th and then make a U-turn at that light.
Although that’s awkward, it’s about the best the city can do until the freeway is extended west and a dedicated U-turn lane can be put in under the overpass at 119th, officials said.