Archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2007

City administrator gives inside look at road projects

June 27, 2007

As the city of Basehor grows, so does the volume of traffic and the need for improved streets.

City Administrator Carl Slaugh said Basehor residents can expect to see two major road projects completed in the near future with two others in the works, contingent on funding from two different organizations.

Here's a look at the projects.

Hollingsworth Road

The project is a mile-long stretch of Hollingsworth Road between Kansas Highway 7 and 147th Street, which is the main access point into the Falcon Lakes subdivision from K-7.

The city is responsible for paving the eastern half with six inches of asphalt, while Leavenworth County will chip and seal the western half.

Slaugh said the city worked for about two years to get the project going and an interlocal agreement between the city and the county was signed in May 2006. Easements from 11 property owners were obtained within a year, Slaugh said.

Work has already begun on the road but has been delayed several times. The county must finish the western part of the road before the city can start on the eastern half, and Slaugh said a combination of weather, the nature of the materials used and the county's priority list have slowed the project.

Unhappy Falcon Lakes residents have attended several City Council meetings to ask when the project will be completed.

The city has chosen a subcontractor, Holland Corp. of Lenexa, to complete the second half of the project for $123,500 with a notice to proceed July 9. The subcontractor will have seven days to complete the work, but the start date still depends on if the county finishes its work.

"I generally get a pretty steady stream of calls from the homeowners association, the developer or homeowners that are just sick of the dust," Slaugh said. "But, they (the county) were working pretty furiously last week, so I think they're going to have it done."

147th Street and Parallel Road

The project targets a 1,400-foot stretch of 147th Street from Parallel Road north to the city boundaries. It passes by the city's only active industrial park.

The city will pave the road with 10 inches of asphalt.

The project was proposed in February 2005, and the council has had several discussions about it since then, Slaugh said.

"That road was partially paved at one point but has broken up over time and is in poor condition," he said. "Anybody who drives on that road in any regularity is tired of the condition of the road."

Easements and additional right of ways from 11 property owners were needed to proceed with the project. Most of the property owners willingly gave up the extra 10 feet of their property because they wanted the road project completed, Slaugh said.

"They were all quite willing to dedicate the additional right of way and easement," he said. "The amount they were giving up would be the equivalent to a ditch. It really doesn't affect their usable property, and they end up with a much better situation."

All property owners were offered compensation for the land, but one of the property owners wanted more than what the city was offering, which forced the city to begin condemnation proceedings.

Condemnation is now complete and the utility companies can begin moving their electricity, gas, cable and phone lines.

The city chose H.E. Miller and Sons Construction Inc., out of Kansas City, Kan., to complete the project for $265,820.70.

"The contractor is ready to go to work as soon as utilities are relocated," Slaugh said.

155th Street

This project would improve two sections of 155th Street from U.S. Highway 24-40 to about halfway between U.S. 24-40 and Parallel Road and Parallel Road to Hickory Street, a combined distance of a little more than a mile.

The city has applied for a grant through the Mid-America Regional Council to widen the two sections of 155th Street from two lanes to three lanes by adding a center turn lane.

MARC is the planning organization for the Kansas City region, which helps promote a stronger community through planning and a better understanding of certain issues including transportation.

"They (MARC) get their funding through the Federal Highway Administration because they fall under the metropolitan funding area," Slaugh said.

MARC has about $10 million a year to devote to projects in nine counties: Leavenworth, Johnson, Wyandotte and Miami counties in Kansas and Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri.

Basehor's 155th Street project qualified because it falls under the category of a major rural collector street, Slaugh said.

The city originally decided to submit a mile stretch of 155th from U.S. 24-40 to Parallel Road for the grant but decided a large area of that was just residential turning traffic, Slaugh said.

"We decided to split it up to cover the parts that have the most turning traffic, which is usually at the high school and the post office," he said. "We didn't want to do the whole thing because it's too big of a project for the city to do all at once."

He said the city has to consolidate its funding for three years just to cover a project of the current size.

If MARC approves the project, the city of Basehor would be responsible for 25 percent or $898,776 of the $2,833,502 cost, while MARC would cover the remaining 75 percent.

"Any grant that offers 75 percent is very competitive," Slaugh said. "We're competing against five counties on the Missouri side and four on the Kansas side. There are 120 separate city governments, so what are our chances of getting this? Good question."

A MARC committee is evaluating proposals. A ratings system is used, and those projects with the highest point values have a better chance of being funded.

The city will find out later this year if it received the grant, Slaugh said. If funding is received, the project will start in 2010.

Reverse Frontage Road Project Grant

The city is planning to apply for a grant through the Kansas Department of Transportation to create a reverse frontage road behind the businesses on the north side of U.S. 24-40 between 155th Street and 158th Street. The road would will line up with Wolf Creek Parkway on the other side of 155th Street. A section of 158th Street from 24-40 north to the beginning of the reverse frontage road will also be improved.

Plans call for the road to be asphalted and curbed and guttered with sidewalks and streetlights.

The council has approved submitting a grant application on this project. The road will be similar to Pinehurst Drive, a reverse frontage road on the south side of 24-40. Slaugh said if the project goes through, it will help promote economic development.

Once again, if funding is awarded, the city will be responsible for 25 percent or $500,680 of the $2,002,719 project and KDOT will cover the remaining 75 percent. The city will pay for the improvements on 158th Street up to the reverse frontage road and the remaining cost will be divided among the adjoining property owners.

"We figured out how much frontage each one of these businesses has and we're going to assess them a certain amount of the project," Slaugh said.

The idea was pitched to those property owners at a recent meeting, and Slaugh said all those in attendance were in favor of the project, but commitment signatures still need to be obtained.

"This is kind of a preliminary commitment," he said. "Until we actually get the grant, we won't do all the documentation. This is something that will not only benefit the adjoining property owners, but the whole community."

Slaugh said this grant is also competitive.

"We're competing with the entire state of Kansas, so that's why it's very difficult to get funding," he said.

Last year, $26.8 million was available for such grants and seven projects were awarded. The city will most likely find out if it received funding in January 2008.

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