City, WSU working to fix water-damaged road near campus

WICHITA, Kan. — For months now, orange cones have been blocking off a portion of 17th St. near the Wichita State campus. The problem started back in March when water from underground began seeping through the street and breaking the pavement apart.

Paul Lytle with WSU’s architectural and engineering service department says city engineers claim the problem could be from a sump pump that was shut off during construction on campus.

“(There are) a lot of different things it might of been, and that could have been mitigated some things. We didn’t identify that water path through there,” Lytle said.

City leaders say if it wasn’t for the drought, they might have not realized water was shooting up through the concrete on that section of 17th. Now that they’ve found the source of the leak and plugged it, there is still no timeline to fix the road and remove the orange cones.

“Most important thing is that we make sure it gets done correctly and if that takes longer it’s going to take longer and we have to do it safely for the motoring public and the construction workers and we want something that’s going to last so we don’t have to come back to it and put people in harm’s way again,” said Brian Coon with the city’s engineering department.

Coon admits the mystery may never be solved.

“Sometimes ground water just is there and we have to deal with it, it’s literally no one’s fault,” he said.

WSU and city leaders are in talks to figure out if the university might be held financially responsible for the repairs.

City engineers originally thought the leak was coming from an underground irrigation system on campus, but after it was determined to be ground water a contractor plugged the source of the leak as a temporary fix.

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