WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Over 16,000 cars pass over the Amidon bridge in Wichita every single day, and the city is looking to make some major changes to it.
Some Wichita drivers, however, are pumping the brakes on these changes.
City officials say that the bridge, which is 58-years-old, is dangerous and needs to be replaced. The big question is if the city will keep one lane open during construction or tear the bridge down altogether.
Typically, if you’re looking into replacing a bridge, you’re going to close the entire bridge down to do that,” Gary Janzen, a city engineer, said.
Janzen says that tearing down the bridge would mean major savings for the city.
“To close the road and take the bridge down, that’s $7.5 million. You go to one lane. It’s about $2.7 million more,” Janzen said.
Others are concerned that destroying the bridge would deal an economic blow to local businesses, though.
“If I had it my way, we would leave at least one lane open so that fire and EMS can get from the north to head south,” council member Maggie Ballard said. “I mean, that’s, that’s something that I’m really concerned about.”
Janzen believes that keeping one lane open will not only be more expensive but will also increase the amount of time that it takes to complete the project.
“Closing the bridge down is 14 months. We think, just with keeping one lane, we’ll go to at least 24 months.”
While detours have been set up, both Janzen and Ballard said they will work together to find a solution.
“We’re looking at different options,” Ballard said. “Like, I said, there’s five, and it goes all the way from we don’t do anything right away to completely closing it down to replace the whole thing.”
“We will go back to the District Advisory Board in May to talk about what we’ve decided, where we’re at, and what we plan to do,” Janzen said.
There will be an Amidon bridge information meeting on March 24 at 6 p.m. It will be at the Workforce Center at 21st and Amidon.