Save the Big Ditch Bridge to Connect Prairie Sunset into Wichita

Advocacy Alert graphic

With construction on I-235 progressing, plans called for demolishing the rail bridge over the Big Ditch. Wait! Don’t do that!

That’s a key connector for the Prairie Sunset Trail into Wichita, as well as being an ideal way for westsiders to get across town. Why not keep this rail trail all the way to West St, where it can connect up to the rail lines near Friends and Newman Universities into Delano and tie together big parts of the trail network?

Currently the bridge is closed but inspectors have determined it can be made safe for bike/pedestrian traffic with the addition of handrails and resurfacing. The current construction plan leaves it intact until 2019, but there are no safeguards after that, no long-term plan. We need to let our representatives know that this is an important part of our network.

Please contact Senators Dan Kerschen, Dan.Kerschen@senate.ks.gov and Les Donovan, Les.Donovan@senate.ks.gov to indicate your support for keeping the railroad bridge located just south of Kellogg and I-235 so that the Prairie Sunset Trail can continue into Wichita to connect with the other existing and planned routes in the Wichita Master Bicycle Plan.

Other views of the bridge:

Big Ditch rail bridge from east Big Ditch rail bridge from west

5 comments on “Save the Big Ditch Bridge to Connect Prairie Sunset into Wichita”

  1. Ed Reply

    Keeping and refurbishing this bridge would create a huge reach for anyone wishing to ride a bike east/west, and without being subjected to high-density auto and truck traffic. This sort of project would be relatively inexpensive, seeing that the basic underlying structure is already there, and in sound condition. There would be no need therefore to make an entirely new bridge. Let alone take down the one that’s there. Big, metropolitan areas are the perfect places for creating such walk/bike corridors. It’s what large metro-areas do. Wichita is such a place. (And thanks for making the contact section very simple!)

  2. Brian Reply

    This is a good idea. Also, what about using the top of the big ditch levee right at that bridge for a bike path connecting to the path along zoo Blvd into Sedgwick county park. Lawrence has a nice levee bike path. It does no damage and makes good use of unused space. I suppose there could be a problem getting across maple and central.

    • Ed Reply

      Lawrence and Manhattan both have utilized their own flood control levee’s as “linear trails” to very good effect. The Big Ditch levee’s (both sides) would make really excellent linear trails. The tops of these (or at least much of them) were at one time paved; now somewhat degraded over time; but still already in place, and could be reestablished (using something like crushed gravel, or AB rock). As for potentially challenging crossing points over various bridges, signage of some sort could make it possible for a person walking, or riding a bike, to wait until traffic was clear before crossing. The Big Ditch levee’s are full of such bike/walk potential development; and these structures already exist! What an extensive system of trails, north and south, they would make is amazing. We should utilize them for the enhanced benefit of all Wichita residents. They would make it easier for bikes and walkers and to move about with minimal interactions between motorized vehicles. A win-win situation for all.

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