Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2006

County commissioners balk at new estimate for 147th St.

March 30, 2006

Upgrades to a nearly mile-long stretch of 147th Street, Lansing and Leavenworth County officials agree, are necessary, but just how soon those improvements will be made remains to be seen.

At the end of a meeting Monday, March 27, County Commissioners Dean Oroke and Clyde Graeber decided to wait at least until Thursday to give city officials the full go-ahead to proceed with the project, which involves a nearly 1-mile stretch north and south of Dempsey Road. Part of the road is in the area of Lansing annexed in 2004.

Commissioners were reluctant to give their blessings on the joint project, which calls for placing curbs and gutters, plus laying six inches of new asphalt on the road, until Commissioner Don Navinsky could weigh in. Navinsky was absent during the discussion Monday.

"I think we owe Commissioner Navinsky the courtesy," Oroke said.

Navinsky was the lone sitting commissioner on the board in December 2004 when the county entered into an agreement with the city to split the costs of the 147th Street project. At the time, the cost estimate for the work was placed around $450,000. But Lansing officials say the more likely cost now is in the $878,000 range.

County Counselor David Van Parys said the county's original estimate was not sound.

"It simply appears those figures were unrealistic," he told commissioners.

The new figures are based on office check plans provided to the city by the McAfee, Henderson and Strick engineering firm, which the city hired to do design work on the project.

Graeber wondered aloud how the original estimate could have been off by $428,000 on a project originally estimated at just $450,000.

"It's hard for me to understand how we could be that far off," Graeber said.

Throughout Monday's discussion, the principals continued to point out the need for the project.

"It's an area that needs to be improved," said Bill Green, the county's Public Works director.

"That's kind of what I think," Graeber said. "It's just a lot more than I expected."

Added Lansing Mayor Kenneth Bernard, "It's a lot more than we expected, too. But we've got to get it done."

Commissioners decided to wait until today, March 30, to resume discussion of the issue. Navinsky is expected to be in attendance for the commission's session, which includes a monthly report from the Public Works Department. Graeber and Oroke asked Green to lead off the report with discussion of the 147th Street project.

Meanwhile, the two council members did tell Lansing Public Works director John Young to proceed with a $9,375 survey by McAfee, Henderson and Strick to identify easements needed for the project to proceed.

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