WICHITA – At a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 21, representatives from the City of Wichita, Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) and Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) opened to traffic a new two-mile section of U.S. 54/400 freeway from Eastern Street to the junction with K-96.
“During the past three years, the City of Wichita, KDOT and the Turnpike Authority have partnered to greatly improve mobility in east Wichita,” said Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz. “We are grateful that we could pool funds, resources and expertise to make this project move forward for area drivers, local businesses, freight movers and all travelers passing through the Wichita region.”
“We also appreciate the efforts of our contractor, Wildcat Construction, as they orchestrate the work of many subcontractors to move the project to the milestone that we celebrate today.”
The two-mile section of freeway that opens today is actually the combination of two adjacent U.S. 54/400 projects, one centering on the Webb Road intersection and one at Greenwich Road. The KTA touches both ends of the project with their mile marker 50 toll plaza on the west near Webb Road and the east end of the project where new ramps connecting the Kellogg freeway and the Turnpike will be constructed.
The Webb Road area, started in 2015, will wrap up this spring. It starts on the west at the end of the current freeway (Eastern Street) and ends just west of the Greenwich Road intersection.
The Greenwich Road piece started later and finishes in late 2021. It picks up west of Greenwich and continues east over Zelta Street to a new access for the KTA and ends at the K-96/U.S. 54/400 junction. There are still bridges and KTA ramps to be built between Greenwich and the K-96 interchange.
The prime contractor, Wildcat Construction, is working on both project areas simultaneously and is opening two lanes in each direction of freeway now rather than opening the Webb Road section and then push traffic off the freeway as the Greenwich area is completed.
When this part of the freeway is finished, there will be three lanes of freeway in each direction with interchange access to Webb and Greenwich, modified access to KTA toll plaza 50, new ramps connecting Kellogg and the KTA east of Greenwich (west of K-96/U.S. 54 junction) plus two-lane one way frontage roads on each side of the freeway.