Freddie Franklin enjoys bringing his kids to Sedgwick County Park. He says "We use it every weekend." That's why he and other parents are excited about construction starting on the 13th Street bridge. Franklin says, "Crossing 21st, coming in and out of the park can get a little hectic. Especially around 5 o'clock. So, I think it will slow that down a lot because we'll have that bridge to get access to the highway." Laura Kurniadi brings her kids to the park, too. She says, "Accidents happen often there and it would just be better for a mother with little ones. I'd rather not have to go to that intersection."
Planners of the bridge project hope it will not only be a safer option, but a more convenient one. Kansas Department of Transportation's Tom Hein says, "I think anybody who lives on the west side of the big ditch knows you only have so many options to get into the main part of Wichita."
Traffic cones are setup to let drivers know construction has started, but this spring, drivers can expect some delays at 13th and Windmill where lanes will be temporarily merged. Hein says, "At the end of two years, we'll have a ramp for northbound I-235 to westbound 13th Street, and an eastbound 13th Street to southbound I-235."
Winter weather or rain along the way could delay the project, but the expected finish date is November 27th, 2014. The City of Wichita is financing the $23M project and designed the bridge walls to look similar to Kellogg.