Bridge near Derby getting much-needed facelift

A bridge northwest of Derby will get much-needed repairs in September.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 5:47 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A bridge in south Wichita has become more and more damaged over the year. Wednesday, repairs were approved for improvements this fall.

Around 11,000 drivers use the bridge on 63rd St. to cross the Arkansas River every day. But come September, those drivers will have to find another route.

“We do have a significant amount of traffic on that road,” Derby resident Shannon Demel said. “Being 63rd, it’s a main hub coming in and out of Derby.”

The bridge, built in 1979, is located between Clifton and Hydraulic, just northwest of Derby. Recently, Wichita Public Works found that the concrete beams that support the bridge have been deteriorating and need repairs sooner rather than later.

“The north half of the bridge is not safe,” Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell said. “The south side of the bridge is OK for now, but the bridge does need to be repaired.”

Since November, the road has been reduced from four lanes to two, moving traffic to the south side of the bridge. On Wednesday, the Board of County Commissioners approved a plan to begin repairs in September. The repairs will require the bridge to be shut down completely, and the closure could last up to three months.

“We head to Wichita a lot for our kiddos’ sporting events so we use it a lot,” Demel said. “If it closes completely down it will be a bit of a hindrance for us.”

It is unfortunate but we have to take care of our stuff,” Howell said. “It is important that we do that at the appropriate time. This is obviously the appropriate time. If we push this off it gets to be a lot more expensive later on.”

Howell said the project will cost $135,000 and should extend the life of the bridge by 15-20 years.

“This is the type of thing we have to take care of,” Howell said. “There is no grant money from the state or federal government to take care of this type of infrastructure.”

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