Wichita Street Reopens on Base

  • Published
  • By By Staff Sgt. Adam Goodly
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

After eight months of diligent reconstruction efforts, Wichita Street, a significant thoroughfare within the base premises, has successfully reopened.

The comprehensive project aimed at improving safety, enhancing transportation, and providing better access to various base facilities. The street, which was originally built in the 1950s, underwent a much-needed transformation, with numerous infrastructure enhancements and sustainable practices being incorporated.

Project Manager Jay McFarland, highlighted the key improvements made during the reconstruction, stating, "We replaced the worn-out 1950's pavement and introduced new critically required storm drainage culverts, which will prevent flooding during heavy rains.” 

“Additionally, the removal of the pedestrian bridge near the clinic has improved creek flow and reduced flooding risks,” said McFarland. “Other notable improvements include widened crosswalks and bike lanes with rapid flashing beacons and designated roads for munition trucks traveling to and from the MSA. We also planted 46 trees and adopted erosion-preventing measures to promote environmental sustainability."

Throughout the reconstruction, McConnell Air Force Base remained focused on minimizing inconvenience for the local community and commuters. No alternative routes were created, but existing roads were effectively utilized to mitigate disruptions.

The reopening of Wichita Street brings numerous benefits to both the military community and civilians. Notably, it will alleviate traffic on Kansas Street and provide a direct and rated road for the commissary, BX, and other essential facilities. Moreover, residents and visitors will now have improved access to the RV lot and FAM CAMP, encouraging recreational activities and enhancing the overall base experience.

“One of the key challenges faced during the project was addressing unforeseen obstructions, such as communications and cable TV cabling, which required close coordination with AT&T and Cox Communications to avoid service interruptions,” said John Schwartzbeck, Engineering Flight Chief. “The project also involved collaboration with the 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron to ensure proper stormwater runoff flow to reduce the risk of flooding in the area.”

Looking ahead, McConnell Air Force Base is already considering future developments. McFarland mentioned that designs for replacing Salina Drive are currently underway, with potential funding for the project in the following year or as sections of distressed Salina Drive require significant patching.

With the reopening of Wichita Street, this monumental accomplishment not only improves the base's infrastructure but also solidifies its commitment to the safety and convenience of its residents, businesses, and organizations. As the base continues to grow and evolve, projects like these will play a crucial role in revitalizing the neighborhood and enhancing accessibility and aesthetics for all.