City gives green light to improvements on busy Wichita intersection

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita City Council approved a revised budget of $4.1 million on Tuesday to fund major improvements to the intersection of Oliver and 21st Street North.

City officials said the intersection, which is situated on the northeast end of Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus, is in need of upgrades because they anticipate an increase of drivers using the area.

Right now, about 21,000 cars pass through the intersection each day, according to traffic engineers. After the campus is fully developed, city engineers expect anywhere from 27,000 to 30,000 cars to pass through the intersection each day.

KSN asked drivers what they thought about the increase in traffic on the road.

“Are we all going to fit?” asked Jordan Melugin.

“Oh my gosh,” said Gabrielle Jones.

“Probably not good,” said Adam Kriwiel.

The improvements to the intersection include:

  • New traffic signals, brick crosswalks, and connections to existing sidewalks
  • Dual left turn lanes on all approaches
  • Dedicated right turn lanes on all approaches
  • Installation of 10-foot wide multi-use path on the west side of Oliver and south of 21st Street North

Drivers told KSN they think the improvements will help traffic flow in the area.

“It would just open up everything, so it would just be good,” Kriwiel said.

“Having that big of a road right next to the University, I think will help speed things up a lot,” Melugin said.

Construction on the intersection is set to begin in February of 2017. The city expects it to be complete by October of 2017.

The city is also planning to make improvements to the 17th and Oliver intersection as well as 17th Street from Oliver to Hillside.

Oliver and 17th Street will be expanded to provide a northbound left-turn lane and Oliver will be expanded to five lanes between 17th and 21st.

Seventeenth Street will be rehabilitated and changed from a four-lane roadway to three lanes with on-street bike lanes.

All of the projects will provide sidewalk and pedestrian improvements throughout, with landscaping and aesthetic enhancements.