Project To Reconstruct West Wichita Interchange Moves Forward

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sedgwick County commissioners approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the City of Wichita to reconstruct the interchange at I-235 and US-54/Kellogg.

In May 2011, commissioners approved funding $11.6 million or 10% of the estimated $116 million to pay for the first phase of construction.

At Wednesday's meeting, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve the agreement. Commissioner Karl Peterjohn voted against and expressed concerns about the county paying for the project until 2018.

"People from all of our region travel that area and the county, I think, should participate in some manner," said Tim Norton, chairman. "We picked one big project instead of watering down and being involved in several different projects."

The county negotiated with KDOT to allocate all of the county's share of federal funding into the project. KDOT estimates the funding from 2016-2018 will be $9.3 million. The county will use $2.3 million from the Capital Improvement Program.

The first phase of the project includes: a two-lane flyover ramp from southbound I-235 to eastbound Kellogg, elevated flyover ramp from northbound I-235 to westbound Kellogg, removal of the loop ramps in the southwest and northeast quadrants of the interchange, reconstruction of the loop ramp in the southeast quadrant to northbound I-235, and reconfiguration of the eastbound Kellogg ramp to West Street.

The bidding process for the reconstruction will open in September 2015. Construction will begin thereafter and will take at least two years to complete.

"I don't think we'll have much impact to drivers between now and the start of construction for this project. We will see a lot of utilities being moved, so there will be activity in the area, but generally there won't be that much of an impact on traffic on 235 or Kellogg," said Tom Hein, KDOT spokesperson.

Hein said the current interchange is more than 50-years-old and handles more than 130,000 vehicles every day.

The second, third, and fourth phases, when funded, will cost an estimated $240 million. They will include changes to bridges at I-235 and Central, I-235 and Maple, the Big Ditch, and Kellogg and West Street.

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