Wichita City Council to consider $4 million in street work on S. Broadway

Intersections on Broadway at Harry and Pawnee in south Wichita could be in line for improvements this year. The Wichita City Council is expected to approve plans to spend nearly $4 million on the improvements Tuesday.

Plans call for the intersection at Pawnee and Broadway to be repaved and traffic signals to be upgraded to include audible signals telling pedestrians which street, and in which direction, they are crossing, said Brian Coon, assistant city traffic engineer.

Countdown indicators also would be added to let pedestrians know how long they have to get across the street. And the crosswalks, which are blocked by an island, also would be improved, he said.

"If you are using a wheelchair or walking with a cane, it's incredibly difficult. You have to go around the curb into traffic," Coon said.

The work also would add a right-turn lane along north-bound Broadway so traffic can slow down to enter businesses on that side of the street without impeding traffic on Broadway, Coon said.

The intersection at Harry and Broadway would be repaved, left-turn lanes in all directions added, and traffic signals upgraded.

Drainage and landscaping improvements also would be made.

Both projects have been in the city's capital improvement plans for a long time, Coon said.

"These are true improvements that need to be done to make pedestrians and the motoring public safer," he said.

Work at the two intersections would begin in the summer of 2011 and be completed by early 2012.

Two-way traffic would be maintained during construction at both sites, adding to the length of the projects, Coon said.

"Keeping the lanes open makes it take longer to complete, but the motoring public is really concerned about getting from place to place, so it's a tradeoff," he said.

The budget for the Pawnee intersection project is $2.135 million, with $1.3 million to be paid by the city with general obligation bonds, and $800,000 from federal grants administered by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Work at Harry and Broadway is budgeted at $1.8 million, with $825,000 to be paid by the city through general obligation bonds, and $1 million from federal grants from KDOT.