Two bridges proposed to be torn down in Wichita

Published: Apr. 2, 2018 at 6:17 PM CDT
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Two bridges could soon be closing in Wichita.

Both go under I-135 at 15th and 10th streets. The city says they are old and need to be fully removed and replaced with pedestrian bridges.

City engineers say the 15th Street and 10th Street bridges are the structurally worst bridges in Wichita. They were built back in 1925, and you can see the cracks are showing.

Those fighting for a new pool in McAdams Park, accessed by the 15th Street Bridge, say condemning the bridge could be detrimental to the plan.

"We're concerned that when you eliminate the traffic into McAdams Park, that could eventually be used as an argument to not put in a new pool in 2021," said Donna Wirth.

Wirth worries that closing the bridge to vehicles could hurt the park.

City engineers first brought up the issue five years ago. They say they looked for funding.

"No funding was available primarily because of the low traffic counts and because they look at how far you have to go around if the bridge is closed, it's only two blocks either way," said Wichita City Engineer, Gary Janzen,

Janzen says once torn down, both bridges would be replaced by pedestrian bridges.

"$400,000 less, we provide pedestrian access and both, and some improvements in the park, right now there is no budget for this work, so $400,000 is a lot of money,” said Janzen.

Janzen says there is no concern of collapse but if the 15th street bridge isn't addressed by the end of the year, it will have to close.

"They didn't want the 15th Street closed, they said 'Well, if you have to close something, make a walking bridge on 10th Street, use that money and save the 15th Street bridge," said Wirth.

City engineers say there isn't a lot of traffic that uses this bridge, and with other bridges nearby that can be used, they suggest it be shut down.

The proposed bridge plan will be presented at the District I Advisory Board meeting Monday night. It's expected to be heard by the city council May 22.