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City meets with residents to discuss new 13th Street bridge project

February 14, 2011|By Rebecca Gannon | KWCH 12 Eyewitness News

(WICHITA, Kan.) — The city of Wichita wants to build a bridge over Interstate 235  (but mainly over the Big Ditch).  It plans to have an exit onto West 13th street.

"I think it looks pretty good," said Diana Gasche.  She recently moved to the west side of Wichita.

She, like many others, think the bridge sounds like a good idea, especially for anyone, like Gasche, who has tried to battle rush-hour traffic at Central or Zoo Boulevard.  "They say it should cut down the traffic there a lot, which should be helpful," she said.

Even those who may lose property on the east side say it sounds like a good idea.  Paul Eby attends Berean Baptist Church, which sits on Hoover and right in the path of the proposed bridge.  "We have quite a bit of property in that spot, and we'll rebuild on the same property," he said. "We don't have a problem with it.  Been working with the city engineering for a couple of years on it."  The church will also be paid for the property the city will take for the bridge project.

That's why people came to the Monday evening meeting; to sing the plan's praises, and for some, to voice concerns.

The city says it will take dissenting opinions into account, and can make some accommodations.  "There's changes that we still can make," said Mike Jacobs of the City of Wichita.  "We think we're on the right track, we don't think there's any problems."

If this is approved, construction could start this year.  But it would be a year to 18 months until the bridge is ready for traffic.

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