WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — More than 16,000 drivers use the Amidon bridge daily to get to and from the 21st and Amidon area. They go there for groceries, medical appointments, driver’s licenses, church, and numerous other reasons. But soon, the City of Wichita will close the bridge so a new one can be built.

The bridge is in the 2000 block of North Amidon, spanning the Arkansas River between 13th Street North and 21st Street North.

You can see from the map that thousands of homes and apartments are in that section of town.

This picture shows some deterioration on the current Amidon bridge. (KSN Photo)

On Wednesday evening, Sept. 7, the City is holding a public information meeting about the bridge replacement project. The meeting is at the Wichita Workforce Center, 2021 N. Amidon Avenue #1100, at 6 p.m. The public is welcome to come and ask questions.

The City said the replacement project will begin on Sept. 19 with the closing of the bridge’s northbound lanes. The rest of the bridge will close during the week of Oct. 3. The bridge will remain closed until the project is finished in the spring of 2024.

The detour for through traffic will be almost four miles long. The City plans to have drivers go to West Street to get to 21st and 13th Streets.

However, local traffic will be allowed south of 21st Street and north of 13th Street. The City says that people will be able to get to homes and businesses throughout the construction project.

Signs will be placed along the detour route for access to local businesses. In addition, electronic message signs will notify motorists of any closure.

During this project, Wichita Transit will provide an alternate route to 21st Street and Amidon, utilizing 17th Street and West Street. This service will be free of charge throughout construction.

The City of Wichita is putting a temporary fire station in the Dillons parking lot at 13th and West Street because of the upcoming Amidon bridge project. (KSN Photo)

Also, the City has temporarily moved a fire station to the Dillons parking lot at 13th and West Street. It is expected to be ready before the bridge completely closes.

City Council Member Maggie Ballard represents the district. She said a lot of thought has gone into trying to make the best of the situation.

“Everybody was at the table, and there was extensive conversations with staff, with (Fire) Chief Snow, to talk about our response times, some of the hurdles and hiccups that could be coming down the pipe as well so we could try to get in front of them,” Ballard said.

“We know it’s going to be an inconvenience for folks who use the bridge over there,” Mayor Brandon Whipple said. “But, we also know we’ve got to keep things safe, and we have to have progress on our infrastructure, so trying to minimize the impact that has on the general public.”

The City of Wichita hired King Construction Company, Inc. to replace the bridge.

The new bridge will still have two lanes in each direction. The improvements will add a six-foot sidewalk on the east side, a ten-foot wide multi-use path on the west side, and aesthetic enhancements.

The City said the finish date of spring 2024 will depend on weather conditions. It also said there is always the potential for delays if workers encounter unforeseen utility conflicts.

The City posted details about the Wednesday meeting on Facebook and included this message:

“Ultimately, these improvements will be of lasting benefit, not just to those in the immediate area, but also to the City as a whole. However, as with any public improvement project, those impacted by construction will realize temporary inconvenience. Please know that we will make every effort to minimize the inconvenience to you and the traveling public, and that your support and cooperation is critical to ensuring the success of the project.”