I-235 construction drawing a crowd of onlookers

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan -- Construction over I-235 is drawing a crowd of onlookers who say they don't want to miss the opportunity to watch 12 huge steel beams lifted into place.

"It's something incredible," Rodger Chandler said. "I'm only going to see this once in my lifetime."

Most of the onlookers gathered in the parking lot of the Berean Baptist Church which sits steps away from where the construction team is working.

"It's unique in the fact that you can be this close to them swinging this big steel and yet it's still real safe," Pastor Gary Carty said.

Carty says the carloads of people began arriving Friday night and there was a steady stream throughout the day Saturday.

KDOT closed the stretch of I-235 between Central and Zoo beginning Friday night to install the beams over the highway which will help support the new 13th Street exit.

Cars of onlookers are parking in the church lot facing the construction, giving the lot a drive-in movie feel.

"We had a bunch of kids come out here this morning and some of them set up a lemonade stand," Carty said. "This afternoon it hit us, 'Why don't we just take care of everybody?' So we gave away 145 or 150 hot dogs, potato chips and drinks."

In fact, the church brought in a grill to cook the hot dogs and buns right there.

"We still haven't gotten our sign up so we don't even have a shingle hanging out there to tell who we are," Carty said. "It was a good outreach and we invited a lot of the community. It's been a blessing."

Onlookers say they feel blessed to have the rare opportunity to see this kind of city growth up close.

"It's all been fascinating," Chandler said. "If something like this ever happens again, I'll be there too!"

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