WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Elation was felt by members of the Riverside community as the construction renovations on Amidon would be finished months ahead of its original schedule.
Nearly 16,000 drivers use the nearly 60-year-old bridge daily. It has been closed since last October. However, the city says people may begin driving on the bridge as early as next week.
“I think people are very excited to have this bridge open again. Of course, it connects back to our bike trails, and it’s also going to allow folks to get back to their everyday routine in the morning,” said Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple.
It’s been a long year for people in Riverside who rely on the bridge. Originally, construction was scheduled for 18 months. Whipple says there were a few weather delays and other conditions that put the project ahead of schedule.
“Being lucky when it comes to the supply chain, but also prioritizing this, making sure that we get that bridge up and running again because it was quite a disturbance for people in that community,” Whipple said.
The Amidon bridge work is one of several major road projects happening this year. The largest and most disruptive is the work at North Junction. Kansas Department of Transportation’s Public Affairs Manager, Tom Hein, says this work comes with more obstacles.
“There are so many bridges to build, and it intersects with a couple of railroads underneath, and that’s a challenge to get work done on railroads because they don’t particularly like things falling on their trains,” said Hein.
An inconvenience that drivers will have to navigate for months to come.
“That work will go on for another two years, easily, and there will be a lot of lane and highway closures, even with detours, over the weekends, between now and then. Because there’s so much bridge work, and we can’t do bridge work over traffic that’s running on 135,” said Hein.
As for the bridge in Riverside, the wait is almost over. The city plans to hold a public ribbon cutting and open the road next week on Nov. 1.