March 9th, 2011
A Wichita neighborhood is upset with plans to permanently close their street for a bridge and dam project.
The project will take place on the Lincoln Street bridge, along McLean Boulevard.
The plan will include two phases, as the entire bridge is reconstructed, and a new dam is built south of the bridge.
The $13.7 million project is set to begin Monday at Lincoln and McLean.
The city says working on the bridge and the dam is a great idea.
Residents in the area say they are not so sure.
"I've lived here 14 years, and the river has been a good neighbor," said Jim Harpel.
Now, the bridge crossing that river is causing controversy for residents like Harpel, who says construction plans to the structurally deficient Lincoln bridge will close-off his immediate access to a main street.
"They're going to close my street here permanently, which means I have to go around the block," said Harpel.
In place of the blocked-off street, will be a culdesac at Lincoln and palisade.
"Why do you have to close this street?" asked Harpel.
Project engineer, Steve Degenhardt, says safety standards and other enhancements force crews to shut down the road.
"The east end of the bridge is moving further east to accommodate the boat and fish passage that's going in on the east side," said Degenhardt.
For the city, Degenhardt says the project will be one worth visiting upon completion.
For people like Harpel, it is a project in need of adjustments and patience.
"I wish it would be over with now, but I'm afraid to see the outcome. I think it's going to be a handicap for those of us living here," said Harpel.
The project is set to be complete in 2012.