The first steps in a major Kellogg project will start in the coming days but it will be a couple of years before the bridge replacement disrupts thousands of commuters.
Surveying the bridge, which is just west of I-235 and crosses the Big Ditch, starts on Aug. 15. It’s one of the first steps in replacing the 1971 bridge. Construction to replace the one bridge with two is slated for 2025, according to Kansas Department of Transportation spokesperson Tom Hein.
“It usually takes the better part of a year to build a bridge but this project is two bridges that handle 83,000 vehicles per day” on average, he said in an email. “The location is complicated because of the high traffic numbers, reluctance to obstruct traffic by closing lanes, and location over the floodway so it’s too early to speculate on how long the construction process would require.”
Any survey work that requires closing lanes will be done in the evenings or overnight. Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita is the primary contractor on the 90-day survey, KDOT said in a news release this week.
This early on, Hein said, it’s difficult to estimate replacement costs or how the project will be financed. Other future projects near the bridge include work on the cloverleaf at the I-235 and Kellogg interchange. That work is mostly finished and the area is more functional than it used to be but there are still more ramps to be replaced.
Hein said the bridge replacement was supposed to be in the later phase of improvements at the interchange, but it’s being done sooner “because of its condition and the recurring need for maintenance to the driving surface.” Patching and a surface overlay are slated for the westbound lane of the bridge in 2023.
Wichitans are used to construction on Kellogg. December was the first time in 30 years that Kellogg wasn’t under construction. But it wasn’t ever going to last. A couple weeks later, Gov. Laura Kelly announced $166 million in upgrades to Kellogg in east Wichita, though a date of the project wasn’t given.
Wichitans have long joked about the endless construction.
One joke, first quoted in The Eagle in 1991, was that the sun would burn out in 5 billion years, so they’d have to string lights to finish Kellogg.
“I know that’s the running joke and all that, but you can’t build something and then just walk away from it,” Hein, who grew up in Wichita, told The Eagle for a story about the respite from Kellogg construction. “And there’s always problems, so we’re always going to be fixing something on Kellogg. Remember how it used to be, folks. Come on. We’ve come a long way.”
Kellogg used to have stoplights throughout. Now it’s a seamless connection from east to west.
For more information about highway projects in the Wichita area, go to http://ksdot.org/WichitaMetro/.