Archive for Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Work to begin on turnpike interchange

December 26, 2007

Work will begin next week on Leavenworth County's first direct tie in to an interstate highway, temporarily cutting off a main north-south route in southern Leavenworth County.

The bridge over the turnpike on County Road 1 is being replaced and will be closed beginning Jan. 2, Public Works director Mike Spickelmier said in a press release Friday.

The second phase of the project reconstructing County Road 1 from Kansas Avenue south of Tonganoxie to Kansas Highway 32 will begin in spring 2008 and "will continue in various stages through the next 24 months."

During construction, County Road 1 will be closed to through traffic, he said.

"The Public Works Department understands that this reconstruction project will be an inconvenience and appreciates the patience of the motorists and residents who will be affected," Spickelmier said.

The county received a boost last week when Congress approved legislation that included appropriations for several local projects, including improvements to County Road 1.

A $490,000 federal earmark will pay for widening and resurfacing of County Road 1 south of the turnpike to Kansas Highway 32.

"I have been working hard with appropriators for the past year to make these projects a priority," Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said in a press release dated Tuesday, Dec. 18. "I am pleased the Senate was able to come together and continue to make important federal investments in Kansas' infrastructure, education and research objectives before the year's end."

The legislation awaits the signature of President Bush before it becomes law, but County Commission chairman J.C. Tellefson said, "We're very excited with the prospect of having some assistance."

He said that with an estimated $400,000 contribution from the Kansas Department of Transportation for a tie-in with U.S. Highway 24-40, "This could reduce our (the county's) cost."

Commissioners have committed up to $10.8 million for improvements to County Road 1 and are waiting on final cost projections for the entire project, based on the redesign of the tie-in with U.S. 24-40. Spickelmier said those figures should be in shortly after the first of the year.

Other local projects included in the Senate spending bill were $700,000 for an interchange at U.S. Highway 73 and 20th Street in Leavenworth, $90.8 million for barracks and unit operations facilities on post at Fort Leavenworth and language making Lansing eligible for rural development grants and loans.

In business Thursday, the Leavenworth Board of County Commissioners:

¢Voted, 3-0, to amend the County's 2007 budget as presented by the County Clerk before year-end.

Adjustments were made to the solid waste, register of deeds technology, out of district tuition and special sales tax revenue budgets under county funds and to the local service road and bridge fund, Sewer District No. 3 and Sewer District No. 7 under other funds.

County Clerk Linda Scheer said that, in regard to the solid waste department, the estimated cash balance for Dec. 31 is $138,577, while the 2008 budget only calls for $47,956 to be carried over from 2007.

"The solid waste budget is based on usage," Scheer said, "So the revenue was there; we're just increasing the spending authority."

According to Steve Wagner, a certified public accountant who advises the commission on its budget, commissioners opened the special sales tax revenue account to allow for some spending of funds on County Road 1 before the end of the year. He added that approximately $120,000 in R.O.D. technology funds was transferred to capital reserve and that the out of district tuition fund was being closed as it is "no longer a needed fund."

Wagner said the budget authority for the local service road and bridge fund was being increased by around $20,000 in anticipation of snow removal before the first of the year and noted an approximately $75,000 combined increase in Sewer District No. 3 and No. 7 to pay for repairs and for payments to the city of Basehor.

¢Met in executive session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. At the conclusion of the session, commissioners unanimously accepted the resignation of Ray Young, with the city/county probation department.

With the motion, Commissioner Clyde Graeber made sure to "express our (the commission's) appreciation for the work that he's done."

¢Approved, 3-0, the early issue of a check to pay for the lease of a communications tower site on Bauserman Hill, just west of Lansing city limits and south of Eisenhower Road.

County Counselor David Van Parys said, with the lease agreement complete, the permitting process for the site can begin.

¢Finalized, 3-0, a lease agreement for the Council on Aging's facility in downtown Leavenworth.

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