From (Courtesy KDOT)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Big changes are coming to Kansas Highway 96 on Wichita’s northeast side. But before that happens, the Kansas Department of Transportation wants public input.

KDOT is holding a public meeting this Thursday, Feb. 2, to unveil its preliminary design concepts for seven miles of K-96.

K-96 growth

More than 50,000 vehicles travel daily along K-96 on Wichita’s northeast side. By 2050, that number is expected to double.

To prepare for the increased traffic, KDOT wants to expand the busy highway to six lanes and improve the seven interchanges from Interstate 135 to 21st Street. The remaining stretch of K-96, from 21st Street to the Kansas Turnpike, would get new pavement.

In November, the project manager told KSN News that the interchanges would be total reconfigurations, with new geometry, on and off ramps, bridges, and improvements to the streets beneath K-96.

The scope of the project has grown since our November report. Now, officials want to unveil design concepts to the community.

The meeting

KDOT, the Federal Highway Administration and the City of Wichita are hosting Thursday’s public meeting. It will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the National Center for Aviation Training, Building 300, 4004 N. Webb Road in Wichita. The building is across from the Administration Center Plaza, Building 100, and free parking is available.

The public is welcome to review the proposed designs during the open house, but there will also be a formal presentation starting at 6 p.m.

The design team is also looking at the environmental, economic and social impacts of K-96 improvements. The team wants feedback on all of it.

If you cannot attend the meeting, check the K-96 Improvements website after the meeting to review the materials. The website includes a place for you to offer input throughout the project.

Officials expect to finalize the design and complete preconstruction activities in 2024. Construction could begin as early as 2026.