Monday, July 29, 2012
If your daily commute involves passing over the bridge on northbound Interstate 235 that crosses over the Little Arkansas River, you either need to start planning an alternate route or expect some serious delays until September.
The bridge is in north Wichita between Meridian and Broadway. Crews are putting in some temporary lane striping Sunday night because all northbound traffic on the bridge will be reduced to one lane for the entire 45 day project. The plan is to make the bridge a smoother ride for drivers.
Leslie Hansen tells us the quickest way to get from her north Wichita neighborhood to the east side is to take I-235, but usually she says she takes a detour down 37th Street.
“Even though it's just a hop, skip and a jump to get on and go, but you do what you got to do,” Hansen said.
Hansen says she relies on alternate route simply to avoid the bridge.
“It's completely full of holes. There's no way you can maneuver around them. You just hit them and it's just awful. Every time we go over it we say 'they need to fix this bridge,'” Hansen said.
Hansen's wish has come true. For the next month and a half, crews will be working to smooth out the surface of this bridge.
It's the second repair project in three years. Kansas Department of Transportation public affairs manager Tom Hein says the first time around they realized the bridge was worse off than they had originally thought.
“So all those repairs that were done a few years ago - they helped but it was very temporary because inside the bridge there's a lot of problems and we hope this project will correct those problems,” Hein said.
Hein says construction crews will rip up four inches of the bridge's surface and put down two inches of concrete.
The project should be done by mid-September. Until then, Hein says drivers should find a way around the construction site if possible.
Hansen says that's the one thing she's dreading. She fears other drivers will avoid the bridge by taking 37th Street right past her house.
“It will be a hassle probably getting in and out of our driveway, but you live with that, too,” Hansen said.
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