Sedgwick Co. aims to improve accessibility on south side

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Back in August, Sedgwick County held a few public meetings to get feedback on the 95th Street South corridor study. It’s called the ARC95 Study.

Right now, 95th Street South is blocked by a dead end at K-15 because of the BNSF railway and the Arkansas River behind it.

The popular stretch of road is used often by people on the south side of Sedgwick County and some would like to see improvements to its accessibility.

This week, the county is holding two more meetings, specifically targeting improvements to the 95th Street South and K-15 interchange.

KSN spoke with Jim Howell, a Sedgwick County commissioner, whose district is included in that area. He said they’ve tossed around ideas like a possible bridge over the Arkansas or an intersection with a stoplight.

Commissioners have already met with a contractor to look at the possibilities, but now, they want the public to weigh in because it’s the people who will be impacted the most.

“We’re not really attaching dollars to this just yet,” Howell said. “We’re just trying to find out what (the public) likes and what they don’t like and whether or not this is a good idea and what problems they see that may arise from such a design and if they have any comments to maybe mending this or something we haven’t thought of yet.”

Howell told KSN he believes that by improving the accessibility of the south side of the county, they could inspire growth in the area.

He used the northeast side of Wichita as an example, saying, there wasn’t a lot of development out there until the K-96 bypass was installed.

Connection 95th street south with K-15 on both ends could make commuting easier for people who live on the south end of Derby or the north end of Mulvane, he said.

“We think there’s a good chance this would be again, a trigger point to see a lot of growth on the south side of our county and we certainly want to understand and explore that more because if that’s true we want to find solutions to that idea and allow that growth to happen,” Howell said.

So far, the county has received mostly positive feedback, Howell said, adding that around 60 people showed up to the last two meetings they held.

“Most of the feedback I think was very positive. They thought this was a good idea,” he said. “There were a few people, minority of those, that felt this was possibly unneeded, or may cause, basically it’s a solution in search of a problem. For the most part I think we had an overwhelming or overall positive response.”

Down the road, Howell told KSN he could see options for expanding the project to Greenwich Road or over to Kellogg on both the east and west sides of town.

It’s clear this is a multi-stage project, he said.

“Assuming right now that there is buy in and acceptance and a desire for this type of thing, then we have to start tackling those other problems and find out how to pay for it and exactly how it looks and connects to existing roads and that type of thing,” Howell said.

You can submit your own feedback to the study by clicking this link here, or you can attend tonight’s meeting from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Haysville Community Library.