Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Planning ahead for transportation infrastructure not only preserves the efficiency and safety of the transportation system, but also reduces capital costs.
Imagine a world with a new east-west route between communities in southern Sedgwick County.
A route that eliminates the frustration of waiting on trains and the need to drive miles out of your way to cross the Arkansas River.
In 2017, Sedgwick County completed the ARC95 Study which evaluated corridors and options for an east-west trafficway along 95th Street in the southern part of the county. A 2008 study had identified a need for such a trafficway and projected that existing river crossings would exceed capacity by 2030.
ARC95 recommends construction of a parkway along 95th Street South crossing over K-15, over the railroad track, and across the Arkansas River, which would make the crossing passable at all times.
The study also suggests a new access to the Kansas Turnpike could be added between Broadway and Hydraulic, and includes a fully directional interchange at K-15.
This elevated parkway/bridge over K-15, the railroad track, and the river would do more than just eliminate frustrating delays. It also would address future congestion issues, provide relief to the existing transportation network, improve access for emergency response, and provide an economic boost. The trafficway, particularly when coupled with a new turnpike interchange, would support industrial parks in the Clearwater, Mulvane, Haysville, Derby and Rose Hill communities and open the entire 95th Street corridor to development.
Even when properly planned for, transportation projects are expensive. The estimated cost for the first phase of improvements including the new river and railroad crossing and the interchange at K-15 is $62 million.
While this cost is small when compared to many regional transportation projects, making a 95th Street bridge happen requires city, county, state and federal funding. Residents and business owners in the area of Mulvane, Clearwater, Haysville, Derby and Rose Hill need to tell their county and state representatives the project is needed. ARC95 is vital to the residents and economy of Sedgwick County, and finding funding for it should be a priority.
Learn more about ARC95 at www.sedgwickcounty.org/public-works.