Work is scheduled to start next month on improvements to the Douglas Avenue railroad underpass.
The project has been on the city’s to-do list since about 2010, when Project Downtown, the downtown master plan, was approved. As improvements were made or planned for sites like Union Station, Naftzger Park, and the new Cargill facility going in down the road, the city saw the "the aging and deteriorated" bridge as a connection between it all.
Designs for the upgrades were approved last year. Improvements will include new barrier walls between traffic lanes, decorative handrails, new lighting and pigeon control.
Traffic on Douglas will remain two lanes in each direction during construction, though left turns will be restricted onto Mead. Greg Baalman, a senior engineer with the City of Wichita, says the biggest impact will be on pedestrians. The sidewalks under the bridge will close, but only one at a time.
“We’ll have a pedestrian barricade there asking the pedestrians to cross before they get to the bridge, at the crosswalk," he says.
The total project, budgeted in the city's Capital Improvement Program, will cost about $3.6 million dollars. Construction is expected to last until this fall.
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