WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Congressman Ron Estes on Thursday announced a significant grant for Wichita that will improve the North Junction.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a BUILD Grant of $21 million to replace the North Junction’s outdated single-lane system ramps with new two-lane system ramps as well as a new flyover ramp at the North Junction, where I-235, I-135, K-96 and K-254 connect.

The City of Wichita, Sedgwick County government, the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, and other local leaders are holding a news conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the grant. Click the link below to watch the City of Wichita Facebook coverage:

The Kansas Department of Transportation has labeled it as the Gold Project. The project will improve safety and reduce congestion.

“Today’s award is a great benefit to Kansans, as the North Junction serves as a major crossroads in our state,” said Rep. Estes. “Transforming this area has been a top priority for the State of Kansas. This project will have a travel-time savings of $127 million and a safety savings of $4.6 million resulting from reduced crashes. The interchange connects rural and urban parts of our state, but years of vehicle traffic, congestion and crashes have diminished the efficiency of the current interchange and threatens the long-term prosperity of the region. Correcting this decades-old design is great news for south central Kansas.”

Already, construction is underway on the Green Project portion that is replacing structurally deficient bridges over the Little Arkansas River, and the functionally obsolete bridges over Arkansas Avenue and Broadway Avenue.

The Gold Project will alleviate the morning bottleneck by providing a two-lane direct connection from northbound I-235 to eastbound K-96 and an extended auxiliary lane along eastbound K-96 to the exit at Hillside. The evening bottleneck will be alleviated by replacing the existing loop ramp on northbound I-135 to southbound I-235 with a two-lane flyover direct connection.The project will also provide connections from northbound I-135 to eastbound K-254 and southbound I-135 to southbound I-235.

KDOT said the project is under design.