K-15 and 47th

Traffic moves at the intersection of K-15th and 47th Street. A citizens advisory board is calling for a traffic study at the intersection.

The citizens advisory board of Sedgwick County’s fifth district (CAB5) is calling for a traffic feasibility study at the intersection of K-15 and 47th St.

The advisory board is comprised of members living in the district currently represented by Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell. The group also wants to see the study extend to the intersection at K-15 and Clifton Ave.

Members hope that with his support and the support of the advisory board, the Sedgwick County Board of Commissioners will consider launching a study of the two intersections to ultimately develop a solution to bypass train traffic.

Howell said he had long wanted to see a study done at the intersections but had so far been unsuccessful in getting the BOCC to approve one.

“Everybody is in favor of the ARC 95 project,” he said. “But there’s an awful lot of traffic on K-15 and Rock.”

Both Howell and David Sowden, chairman of CAB5, agreed that the current situation poses a potential problem for law enforcement and emergency medical responders who need to cross the intersection of K-15 and 47th to go east or west.

Sowden said he has heard that trains could be increasing in maximum length from 6,000 to 8,000 feet – which could potentially worsen the issue.

“Especially as you consider a train being almost a mile-and-three-quarters roughly in length, potentially,” he said.

The intersection of K-15 and 47th is also the intersection with the highest concentration of accidents in the whole county, according to the county’s incident map that keeps up with crashes, property damage and more.

Right now, the process is in the very early stages. The first step to addressing the intersection would be to launch a feasibility study, which would analyze crashes, overall traffic, train traffic and more at the intersection to provide input on a possible solution. One potential solution raised so far is an overpass that would allow drivers to take a route over or around the train tracks.

Howell said the process could take years to address and would be complicated by the fact that it would require collaboration from the county, state and BNSF.

Next week, Sowden said, there will be traffic counters set up on K-15 to analyze the level of traffic on the state highway.

Sowden said one of the citizens advisory board’s main goals is to collect input from fifth district constituents. As such, he said he welcomes any input from residents at CAB5’s regular meetings on the first Friday of every month.

The group’s regular meetings are at 4 p.m. on the first Friday of every month at the Bread of Life, 1301 E. Galena St, Wichita. The advisory board will have its next regular meeting on Nov. 5. 

CAB5 agendas are published ahead of each meeting on Sedgwick County’s website. Constituents can also keep up with the group’s Facebook page, Sedgwick County 5th District Citizens Advisory Board.