Archive for Thursday, May 10, 2007

Weekend downpours close Ottawa Street

May 10, 2007

Heavy rains this weekend have isolated the West Bottoms from De Soto.

City engineer Mike Brungardt said Ottawa Street was closed indefinitely between 79th and 82nd streets, shutting off the West Bottoms to through traffic from the city. Access to the West Bottoms, and the city's new wastewater plant, brush pile and boat ramp is now limited to Edgerton Road.

De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle (left) examines damage to
Ottawa Street Tuesday as the Rev. Jerry Vaughn and Darrel Zimmerman
look on.

De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle (left) examines damage to Ottawa Street Tuesday as the Rev. Jerry Vaughn and Darrel Zimmerman look on.

The rains this weekend exacerbated a problem the city engineer and city street department supervisor Ron Creason already knew existed and which Brungardt called to the De Soto City Council's attention as recently as last Thursday.

The problem is holes in two eight-foot diameter culverts that drain under Ottawa Street. Stormwater leaked through the holes, eroding soil from under the street and collapsing the east bank of the roadway, Brungardt said.

To complicate matters the high level of the Kansas River has backed up water in the draw that passes under Ottawa, making it impossible to fully assess the damage.

Initially, Brungardt hoped a temporary fix could open the street late this week.

The envisioned fix would consist of shoring up the roadway's east bank with riprap and scraping asphalt mix into the slump on the street, Brungardt said. The city engineer worried, however, that the cost of a temporary fix could be so expensive that the city would be better off fixing the roadway for the long term.

It is also possible the city will learn once the water recedes there is no viable temporary solution, Brungardt said.

"What I fear is the culverts are in such bad condition there is nothing we can do that will keep the road in stable condition short of removing the culverts," he said.

The permanent improvement would require the replacement of the culverts. With design, engineering and permit acquisition, it would take at least six months to have a permanent solution in place, Brungardt said.

The project was among those making the recently compiled five-year capital improvement list and was mentioned last Thursday as a candidate for De Soto's 2008 Community Development Block Grant project -- with an estimated $266,000 price tag.

Brungardt said he had hoped the project could wait until plans for the new Kaw Riverside Park were developed so any realignment of the street would compliment the park. The best hope to do that would be to develop a relatively inexpensive temporary fix until the park design was completed.

A contract to design the park was awarded last Thursday to former De Soto Parks and Recreation Commission chairman Doug Pickert's Indigo Design firm. Pickert is not scheduled to present the preliminary park design for the Kaw Riverfront Park until July.

Applications for the city's 2008 CDBG project are due next month, making coordinated planning of the street improvement and new park impossible if the city council were to decide to make Ottawa Street its grant project.

The council will consider possible 2008 CDBG projects again May 17.

City planning director Kim Buttrum said the city could expect about $80,000 in CDBG funds for 2008 projects. That would be more than the $50,000 the city received in each of 2006 and 2007.

Feedback from the grant committee indicated it favors infrastructure projects over park upgrades, Buttrum said.

Other projects suggested for the city's 2008 CDBG application include sewer lift station replacements, a sewer sludge dryer, a backup generator for the Sunflower water plant, a backup generator for the city well field and land lift station replacements.

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