Improvements coming to one of Wichita’s busiest roadways

Changes will happen from K-96 and the I-135 corridor extending east to Central and 127th Street East.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 9:40 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Changes could be on the horizon for one of Wichita’s main roadways and it could soon be impacting commutes. The changes will happen from K-96 and the I-135 corridor extending east to Central and 127th Street East.

About 50,000 vehicles in Wichita use K-96 daily. A recent study from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) shows that number could double within 25 years. Because of that, change is on the way.

KDOT Public Affairs Manager Tom Hein said continued development in northeast Wichita is necessitating the changes on K-96.

“The capacity needs in the future are not there,” Hein said. “Plus, there are a lot of safety concerns, especially at the interchanges. We can make improvements there.”

The changes include adding an additional lane to east and westbound traffic, creating the K-96/I-135 corridor out east to 21st Street and improving interchanges along the way to enhance safety for drivers.

Hein said the interchanges have become an issue with exiting traffic backing up onto K-96, creating the potential for dangerous situations for drivers. Three interchanges will be rebuilt: at Woodlawn, Rock Road and Webb Road. During parts of the day when there’s heavier traffic, Hein said it’s not uncommon for ramps to back up onto K-96.

“That leads to some safety issues where people get into fender benders and worse,” he said.

Hein said KDOT also has plans to eventually fix the interchange connecting K-96 and East Kellogg to enhance safety. There’s been a history of rollover crashes on that interchange.

“Eastbound K-96 to eastbound US-54 have been problems from probably day one because it’s such a sharp curve and traffic is going pretty fast,” Hein explained.

KDOT plans to begin construction in 2026. The meeting to unveil designs for the improvements is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 at WSU Tech, near Jabara Airport.