With the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in town this week, a lot of street improvements have been underway ahead of Wichita’s time in the national spotlight.
Ongoing construction to add left turn lanes at Douglas and Hydraulic could impact traffic, but most of the work in Old Town has wrapped up, just in time for this week’s NCAA events.
Mayor Jeff Longwell says the tournament is a chance to showcase the city, but it wasn't the catalyst for all the construction.
“It just so happens they fell at the same time as the tournament fell," he says. "So the goal was always to fix things, whether we had a tournament or not, obviously.”
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Improvements were made to intersections along Douglas, and a parking lot was constructed near the Commerce Art District, the site of some of the tournament celebrations.
Longwell says work on 1st Street, to improve sidewalks and add traffic controls, is about halfway done.
"But we’ll pause it for the tournament so that we’re not mixing construction and pedestrians and traffic and the NCAA tournament," he says.
Projects around downtown have totaled more than $9 million.
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