Archive for Thursday, March 13, 2003

City street projects appear in line for county funding

Planning underway for busy summer construction season

March 13, 2003

The De Soto City Council received good news as planning begins for this year's street improvement projects.

City Engineer Mike Brungardt told the Council it appeared the city would receive matching funds from Johnson County for two future street improvement projects. Although the city has tapped into the so-called County Assisted Road Program in the past for such projects as the Corliss Road and 95th Street improvements, it

hasn't been able to do so consistently because it didn't have the money to carry out road improvements or the advanced planning needed to make the list.

That changed with the passage of the 3/4-cent sales tax in October 2001, and the City Council's subsequent adoption of a capital improvement plan, Brungardt said. The Johnson County CARS project manager has indicated two De Soto street projects identified in the capital improvement plan would likely receive matching funds.

Only streets identified as county arterials were eligible for CARS funding, Brungardt said. De Soto streets that meet that criteria are 83rd, Lexington Avenue, Wyandotte Street north of 83rd, Kill Creek Road and 95th Street. Fortunately for the city, Lexington Avenue is slated for a major upgrade next year with a complete resurfacing from the east Y to west Y and the installation of curbs, gutters and sidewalks. Should the project be approved for CARS participation and the county not change its formula, the county would pay half of the $820,000 estimated cost of the improvements, Brungardt said.

Further upgrades for 83rd Street east of Kill Creek slated for 2007 and 2008 and a resurfacing of Wyandotte Street north of 83rd planned for 2008 should also qualify for CARS funding, Brungardt said. County matching funds in those improvements would save the city another $299,000.

Should those county matching funds materialize, money earmarked for street upgrades in the capital improvement plan would be available for other public works projects, Brungardt said.

The county won't contribute to this year's big project, a four-block reconstruction of 83rd Street from Shawnee to Ferry. The scope of that project wasn't fully developed when the County Commission approved the 2003 CARS project list last summer.

The city has approved a design contract with Shafer, Kline and Warren for the four-block 83rd Street reconstruction. The city and representatives will schedule two meetings with homeowners on the street in the coming weeks to resolve questions about parking, the city engineer said.

Current gravel parallel parking on the four-block stretch would be eliminated through the installation of curbs and gutters, Brungardt said. Residents would be asked to help find a solution, either through some form of street parking or alley improvements, he said.

The city also planned to re-mill the asphalt on the remaining downtown section of 83rd Street with funds available from this year's Community Development Block Grant, Brungardt said. The rest of 83rd Street/Penner Avenue to the west Y is tentatively scheduled for resurfacing as part of the annual re-mill upgrades included in the capital improvement plan.

The other big project slated for this summer is the upgrade to 1,200 feet of 87th Street to city collector street standards from Penner Avenue to Primrose and paving the street another 600 feet to Timber Trails. Lot assessment on Timber Lakes L.L.C.'s planned 68-home subdivision provide $136,000 of the project's $346,000 estimated costs and excise tax collected from adjoining subdivisions will pay the remainder.

Brungardt said the designs for the 87th Street improvement are currently in progress. He anticipated the project would be bid in May.

The City Council will review the capital improvement plan in coming weeks. Brungardt said he would include proposed improvements to the east Y, a project not on the current list, for the Council's consideration. Residents living on the half-block section of 83rd that has been closed to through traffic complain drivers continue to attempt to enter 83rd from the closed section and then resort to unsafe maneuvers when they realize their mistake.

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